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The Starshine Series

Meet wacky, irrepressible Starshine Bliss Shapiro, a girl with an unusual hobby: spiders. She wants to be an arachnologist when she grows up. Too bad everybody thinks that’s weird. But sometimes being different is a good thing!


Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice

Starshine might not get to go on the grade four camping trip because her health-nut parents won’t let her sell the sugary cookies the rest of the class is selling as a fundraiser. But Star’s interest in spiders gives her an idea. With the help of her best friend, Julie Wong, Star plans to enter a school contest about the Greek myths and win the cash first prize. Now, if only her pesky little sister Peggy doesn’t foul things up!


"Ellen Schwartz has succeeded in creating a family of completely believable, sympathetic and interesting characters who care deeply for each other and the world. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to middle elementary school readers." CM Magazine


Polestar Press, 1987

ISBN 0-919591-24-8, 160 pages, paperback, ages 8-12

Starshine at Camp Crescent Moon

Star’s on her way to summer camp for the first time. She’s excited, eager for adventure and hopeful about finding a rare spider believed to be extinct. Things start off badly when Starshine’s rival, the annoyingly perfect Miranda Stockton, turns the other girls against her. But as Starshine wins over her cabin-mates and initiates them into a secret plot to hunt for the elusive spider, camp changes from a month of misery into a summer filled with adventure and mischief.


"An engrossing… and excellent read-aloud book with culturally diverse and engaging characters that kept my five- and nine-year-old boys begging for “one more chapter.” Parents may find themselves wanting to skip ahead after the children go to bed!" -NAPRA REVIEW, American Booksellers Association


Polestar Press, 1994

ISBN 0-919591-02-7, 160 pages, paperback, ages 8-12

Starshine on TV


Shortlisted for Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library AssociationCanadian Library Association Notable Book

Starshine and the Fanged Vampire Spider

Star is obsessed with getting on television. After auditioning for a cat food commercial, impersonating a Munchkin, and trying out for a nerdy quiz show, she’s no closer to her goal. And her annoying little sister, Peggy, doesn’t help matters by stealing the limelight right from under Starshine’s nose. But a spider experiment Star’s working on just might help her get on the small screen in a most unexpected way.


"Ellen Schwartz has now firmly established Starshine Bliss Shapiro as one of the most dependably likable weird little kids in Canadian literature." Connecting Classrooms, Libraries & Canadian Learning Resources


"Schwartz’s great strength lies in her ability to portray the concerns and feelings of the preadolescent in an authentic and unsentimental fashion. Recommended." - Canadian Book Review Annual


Polestar Press, 1996

ISBN 1-896095-13-5, 160 pages, paperback, ages 8-12

Starshine’s on a mission: to have the Araneus vampiricus, or fanged vampire spider, named the Provincial Arachnid of British Columbia. All she has to do is convince three thousand people to sign her petition. Simple, with the help of her best friend, Julie, and her friends from Camp Crescent Moon. But then Starshine and Julie have a fight. How will Star get the help she needs to make the Araneus vampiricus the most famous spider in the province? And, more important, what will she do without her best friend?

Raincoast Books, 2000

ISBN, 180 pages, paperback, ages 8-12

Teacher’s Guide 


The Starshine books can be ordered directly from me at:

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