I’m just sneaking in a few more of the fantastic titles being released just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
‘The Spacesuit’ by Alison Donald, illustrated by Ariel Landy (Maverick Books)
Ever since I heard about this book, I had been desperate to read it. It’s based on the true story of seamstress, Eleanor Foraker, who worked sewing bras and nappies for Playtex before being approached to precision stitch a spacesuit which could go to the moon! Take a peek into a little-known part of the space race story.
Told in picture book format with brilliant full page illustrations, we follow Ellie from childhood sewer, to creator of spacesuits. It takes the reader through the design process and the decision to make it of many soft layers and joint it like an onion to ensure flexibility, through the trial of needing special sewing machines to get through the 21 layers of material used and through the nail-biting judging process. It truly was a feat of engineering and teamwork.
Take note – there’s a handy QR code at the back which can be scanned for further information.
‘How To Be An Astronaut and Other Space Jobs’ by Dr Sheila Kanani & Sol Linero (Nosy Crow)
This strikingly-illustrated title covers all aspects of the training and skills needed to be an astronaut, or a space chef, or to design a spacecraft. I loved the clear layouts with an excellent balance of text to illustration which make this suitable for independent readers aged 7+
It’s unique in the fact that the book explores the behind-the-scenes roles such as mission control, all the people who work hard on many aspects of the spacecraft, suits, satellites to ensure that astronauts can launch and return in safety. I also enjoyed the timeline of space exploration which dates right back to female astronomer, Aglaonike, in Ancient Greece who could predict lunar eclipses.
‘Where Once We Stood’ by Christopher Riley and Martin Impey (Harbour Moon Publishing)
This large-scale book is a glorious collection of first-hand accounts from those involved in successfully enabling 12 people to walk on the moon between July 1969 and December 1972. A combination of extensive interviews with the astronauts themselves and transcripts of conversations held on the moon, Riley has created a fascinating story to accompany Impey’s much-celebrated paintings.
The careful use of maps and illustrations will enable older KS2 readers to put themselves into the spacesuits of those men who achieved one of humankind’s greatest feats – walking on the surface of our moon. I would recommend this for anyone aged 10+
‘Trailblazers: Neil Armstrong – First Man on the Moon’ by Alex Woolf, illustrated by Luisa Uribe, George Ermos and Nina Jones (Stripes Books)
This biography of the first man to walk on the moon, fills readers in on the space race between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A which preceded Armstrong’s momentous moonwalk. We also learn about his childhood and schooldays, where his love of aeronautics and learning first blossomed and helped him on the way to becoming a research pilot then participant in Project Gemini.
A really engaging read packed full of information I had never heard before. I loved the way that the text of the biography was interspersed with reports, lists, and fact files, as well as plenty of illustrations to bring the action to life. Perfect for independent readers aged 7+
‘Balloon to the Moon’ by Gill Arbuthnott and Christopher Nielsen (Big Picture Press)
This beautiful book tells the story of flight from kites to space stations and is born out of the author’s fascination with Space as a child growing up in the 1960s.
Using a striking palette of mainly blues and oranges, the illustrator has created timelines and comic strips, full page illustrations and scientific diagrams which make this book a visually appealing read. It has been cleverly organised in a countdown style with 10 being Balloons and 1 being the countdown to take off.
This is one of those books which would be a pleasure to dip in and out of, with a wealth of information to explore at the reader’s leisure. 8+