Published Aug 2, 2022
Inside the Star Trek Discovery: The Girl Who Made the Stars Picture Book
Robb Pearlman shines light on adapted picture book, on-sale now!
By StarTrek.com Staff
A brave girl brings light to her dark world in this empowering and inspiring story.
A long, long time ago, a young girl (based on the character of Michael Burnham) found the courage to brave the darkness and to give her people the stars so they would no longer be afraid of the night.
In Star Trek Discovery: The Girl Who Made the Stars, New York Times best-selling author Robb Pearlman adapts the Star Trek: Short Treks' short "The Girl Who Made the Stars" into picture book form to encourage young readers to be brave, to face their fears and accept challenges, and to always be true to who they are. Star Trek Discovery: The Girl Who Made the Stars is now available, everywhere books are sold!
Star Trek: Short Treks is a series of mini-stories in the Star Trek universe. Directed by Star Trek: Discovery's Olatunde Osunsanmi and written by Discovery's Brandon Schultz, "The Girl Who Made the Stars" short showcases a young and scared Michael Burnham being soothed by a mythical short story from her father during a lightning storm in space.
StarTrek.com: Why do you think Star Trek resonates so much with kids?
Robb Pearlman: First and foremost, Star Trek has always highlighted intelligent, imaginative, and authentic storytelling—and nobody appreciates that better than a kid! Star Trek is one of the few established franchises that can be enjoyed by fans of all ages. I can’t tell you how many folks I’ve met who have shared stories about watching Star Trek films and shows with multiple generations of family members. And because the storytelling is rooted in a well-intended, welcoming, and celebratory exploration of strange new worlds, it parallels the way a child is experiencing their own world for the first time: with wonder, possibility, and innocence.
StarTrek.com: You’ve published many books with Star Trek. Why was this adaptation a natural next step for you?
Robb Pearlman: I’m extraordinarily grateful for the chance to have written so many Star Trek books! I really love stretching my muscles to try to write things I’ve never done before, so I was genuinely thrilled to push my limits and try something new. Many of my other books can be (and—very happily are) enjoyed by fans of all ages. This one is the first that’s written specifically for kids, and though I’ve written books that, to some degree, drew inspiration from existing stories, this book is my first adaptation. It was a fun challenge to think about Star Trek, and storytelling, in a new way. So I guess when it comes down to it, I can say it was my next logical step!
StarTrek.com: This book starts out as a father-daughter story. Why does that grounding feel important to the plot of this book?
Robb Pearlman: I’m a huge fan of a classic Star Trek pre-opening credits cold open. But a story that takes us to a time and place outside of the usual Star Trek timeline needed some context to establish what was going on. And by using the story-within-a-story conceit, we’re able to clearly show the connective tissue between the two girls—and the reader. For Star Trek fans, I also think by rooting it firmly in Michael Burnham’s childhood, we’re getting a never before seen glimpse of her relationship with her father, and the earliest look at the people and experiences that formed her into the brave captain she is today. Well, she will be in a few centuries.
StarTrek.com: One of the main conflicts in this story is what people irrationally fear vs. what is actually dangerous. What are some of your favorite perceived fears vs. actual fears in Star Trek?
Robb Pearlman: Because it’s so easy for a society to blame its problems on a group other than themselves and their own choices, I have to say one of my favorite perceived fears throughout Star Trek has always been about “the other.” To paraphrase Captain Kirk, “there’s no room for bigotry on the Bridge!” And one of my favorite actual fears? Easy: a Klingon buffet—it’s so squirmy!
StarTrek.com: Do you think that discovery is often on the other side of fear?
Robb Pearlman: I think that’s almost always the case. The what-ifs in life keep us from even trying new things, or make things scarier than they really are. Like a warp core, knowledge is power! By making our way over through a scary nebula or asteroid field or galactic barrier to what lies on the other side, at least we know what the truth is. And truth, even if it’s painful, is essential for moving on and discovering the undiscovered country that is the future!
StarTrek.com: What do the stars in this book represent for you?
Robb Pearlman: For me, the stars represent the infinite possibilities that can lead us out of the darkness. And as is often the case—especially these days—we need only look to the next generation to point them out to us.
StarTrek.com: Who are some of your favorite kid characters in Star Trek?
Robb Pearlman: I will never not be a loud and staunch advocate for Wesley Crusher. He’s been under-appreciated for years, but I think he’s one of the most complex and important characters of any Star Trek series. I’m also a huge fan of Jake Sisko. Aside from the fact that he wanted to make his own path and become a writer—like me!—he was a great friend to Nog. And even though they’ve only been around for one season [with Star Trek: Prodigy], I’m already deeply attached to the entire crew of the U.S.S. Protostar, especially Rok-Tahk!
StarTrek.com: What do you think kids can learn from the girl in this story?
Robb Pearlman: I hope kids learn that not only can the light inside of them help guide them through even the darkest of nights, but it can also lead the way for the rest of us.