Kiddosphere: One Small Step: Books for Space Exploration Day

Posted by Aaron on

July 20th marks the 49th anniversary of the first manned exploration of the moon. With the anticipation for the First Man movie, and leading into the 50th anniversary celebration in 2019, there’s no better time to remember or learn about this momentous event!

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong has been on my radar for years, and I’m planning to read it well before the movie comes out in October. It’s supposed to be a honest exploration of the deep personal affects suffered by Armstrong (and his family) before and after the moon landing.

I love, love, love The Astronaut Wives Club (didn’t see the miniseries). It’s a fascinating and revealing look of the enormous pressure felt by these ladies to be 100% clean-cut, all-American wives and mothers (and the pressure on their husbands to be dashing heroes). Super fun read for those who enjoy nonfiction but don’t want something depressing and weighty, but still want substance.

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon is one of my favorite children’s books about the Apollo 11 project, because it celebrates the many unknowns who made the landing a success, from the seamstresses who stitched the astronauts’ suits to the flight directors.

Although Katherine Johnson’s work on John Glenn’s Friendship 7 was the highlight of Hidden Figures, she also did important calculations for Apollo 11. You Should Meet: Katherine Johnson is an excellent introduction to this unique woman, ideal for those not old enough to read the young readers’ adaptation of Hidden Figures (there’s also a picture book adaption of the book for adults).

I love biographies about little-known people who made important contributions, which is why I must include Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing. Hamilton hand wrote (!) code that made several lunar missions possible, including Apollo 11.

Who Was Neil Armstrong? is another fine entry in the terrific Who Was? biography series, which neatly bridges the gap between picture book biographies and lengthy biographies.

I was on the Jefferson Cup committee that named Mission Control, This is Apollo as one of the 2010 Honor books (in a very strong year!). It’s gorgeously designed and has an engaging voice, which makes it a fabulous pick for independent readers and adults who want a superb overview of the mission, but don’t want a lengthy read.

Buzz Aldrin: Reaching For the Moon is a beautiful picture book memoir by Buzz Aldrin; highly recommended for patient listeners. The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon: The Story of Apollo 11 Astronaut Michael Collins is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn more about the mission.

Jennifer Schultz, Collection Services Development Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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