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the poetry of science

Solar Eclipse

Science and Children—Fall 2023 (Volume 60, Issue 7)

By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Solar Eclipse by Allan Wolf

Solar Eclipse

by Allan Wolf

A shadow creeps across the lawn.
The sky grows dark as if it’s dawn.
You look up and the sun is gone!
It must be an eclipse.

The simple truth is that the moon
has crossed between the Sun and you.
And while that may seem rather rude,
it’s only an eclipse.

And as the moon blots out the sun,
Its shadow falls on everyone.
Don’t try to scream. Don’t try to run.
It’s only an eclipse.

Wear eye protection while you stare.
Take in the sight, but don’t despair;
I promise you the Sun’s still there.
It’s only an eclipse.

Poem © 2023 Allan Wolf. Illustration © 2023 A.T. Baron.

Explore More!

  1. Survey the class to learn what they know about solar eclipses. Show photographs or videos from NASA (Online Resources) to build background knowledge.
  2. Read the poem to students. Read it again, this time taking different parts. Invite one group to read the first three lines of each stanza and another group to read the last line of each. Try new ways of reading the poem in different parts. 
  3. Enjoy more of Allan Wolf’s space poetry in his book The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You Into Space and Back Again (2019). Invite students to write a poem in the voice of the Moon, Sun, or a viewer experiencing an eclipse.
  4. It is important for people to protect their eyes when viewing an eclipse. Watch a video from NASA (Online Resources) to understand how to view a solar eclipse safely.
  5. Using a large ball (Sun), many small balls (one Moon per child), and some pencils (Moon holders), model a solar eclipse (Online Resources).
  6. Investigate sky questions by reading bits from Meg Thacher’s Sky Gazing: A Guide to the Moon, Sun, Planets, Stars, Eclipses, and Constellations (2020) and or Charlotte Guillian’s fold-out book The Skies Above My Eyes (Look Closer) (2018). 


Guillian, C. 2018. The skies above my eyes (Look Closer). London, UK: Words & Pictures.

Thacher, M. 2020. Sky gazing: A guide to the Moon, Sun, planets, stars, eclipses, and constellations. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Wolf, A. 2019. The day the universe exploded my head: Poems to take you into space and back again. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Online Resources

Allan Wolf Author Website:

How to Safely Watch a Solar Eclipse:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, NASA:

NASA Eclipses Page:

NASA Science Space Place: Explore Earth and Space!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater ( is an author and teacher blogging at The Poem Farm. A.T. Baron ( is a children’s book author, illustrator, and zoologist.

Astronomy Earth & Space Science Literacy Elementary

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