Accepting Difference: Lessons Learned from “Fireflies and Shooting Stars”

Pardon me while I take a few moments to wipe tears from my eyes. The kids and I just finished reading “Fireflies and Shooting Stars: The Tale of Enzo”, which is a beautiful story about self love and accepting difference. Author Ed Raarup and Illustrator Lindsay D. Nery sure know how to get to a mama’s heart.


Who knew that the story of a firefly could bring me to tears, but it did. “Fireflies and Shooting Stars” is a magical story that tells the tale of Enzo, a little firefly born without a taillight. This comes with challenges–like not being able to play hide n’ seek. As I read the chapter about Suzy picking on Enzo for not having a taillight, I watched my daughter’s eyes well up a little. While she’s only four, I could tell she got that bullying was a bad idea. And my son (who is two) petted the beautiful photo of Enzo cuddled in his mother’s arms for comfort. But Enzo would not let these challenges get in his way of following his heart.

You see, Enzo had a strength and a courage within that I only hope I can instill in my own children. This little firefly helped Tommy the tadpole out of a dried up creek puddle and flew him back into the pond (even though his Papa told him to stay far away–frogs love to eat fireflies). He was also determined to find Joel and Nell, a firefly and shooting star who the others spoke of. Nell was a magical shooting star, one who gave Joel strength and courage many years before, bringing light to all of the other fireflies. Joel left the Earth to join Nell among the stars, where he was happiest. Enzo decided the pair could help him find his light.

Little did he know that the light was in his heart all the time. (Don’t we all need to hear that every once in a while?) Through a journey to space, Enzo finds the truth and his light. Upon his return, he finds that his friends and family loved him so much, they made him a playground where all fireflies belong and can play.

The story is based on “Firefly Field“, an all-accessible playground for all kids to play. It is beautifully illustrated, and accompanied by a CD with songs (that are found in the book–a lifesaver for parents who aren’t great at coming up with melodies to songs in books on their own). Although the book is recommended for kids ages 5-10, my little ones enjoyed letting me read this heart-warming story to them. An aside? The book is so beautiful, I admit to keeping it high up on a shelf away from the kids–we’ll definitely be revisiting it for years to come and I want it pristine! 

And the best part, the kids, mom, and dad, all learned lessons while we read this gorgeous story of Enzo. How could you not appreciate this?

“…there’s a light that shines in everyone. It may be different,

but that’s OK. You’ve gotta know just who you are and what

you’re good at so you can shine in your own way.”

If you are interested in a copy of “Fireflies and Shooting Stars”, visit to order your copy today. The story retails for $29.95 and includes the CD with 12 songs, but for the month of June, you can get a copy for $19.95 with the code “sparkle”. I definitely recommend the story to teach your children about accepting difference.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of “Fireflies and Shooting Stars” in exchange for this review; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

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