There was a time when J was really into space. She still enjoys it, but it isn’t the subject that elicits pure excitement from her. However, when I found the book “I Want to Go to the Moon” by Tom Saunders, we both got a big kick out of it. Even better, this is a fun way to learn about Neil Armstrong and the space movement.
This cute book, with fabulous illustrations by Cynthia Nugent, tells the story of Neil Armstrong and his love of the moon. From his early childhood, he had the big dream of going to the moon but was often told that it just wasn’t possible. According to this book, which takes a few liberties, his parents tried to dissuade him from his dream of going to the moon since many had not been flying for very long at this point, and the moon was simply too far away. But Neil had a dream and he wasn’t going to let anyone stand in his way. He learned everything that he could about flying as a child, even flying a plane before getting his drivers license.
Neil of course continued on the course of action that we all hope our children proceed on – he worked hard and didn’t let anyone stand in his way. What the book doesn’t tell you is that in the middle of his college education, he was drafted into the Navy. According to Wikipedia, he flew numerous missions in Korea and came back to college with a renewed sense of purpose. He graduated in 1955 with a Bachelors in Aeronautical Engineering. He then worked hard as a test pilot (not washing dishes as the book has you believe) and proved himself as an expert in his field.
According to Wikipedia, “in 1958, he was selected for the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest program. In November 1960, Armstrong was chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the X-20 Dyna-Soar, a military space plane under development by Boeing for the U.S. Air Force, and on March 15, 1962, he was selected by the U.S. Air Force as one of seven pilot-engineers who would fly the space plane when it got off the design board.” In 1969, we all know what happened, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.
This book wasn’t a perfect work of non-fiction, but I still really enjoyed it. As an adult, I happen to love picture book biographies. They are a great way to get kids excited about a subject and the pictures keep their attention and help to explain certain points. This book is more about having a big dream and sticking to it, but it might also get kids interested in Neil Armstrong.
Another great picture book that is more fact based is One Giant Leap by Don Brown.
This book focuses on Armstrong’s childhood and his love of airplanes which then inspired his love of space. This book works as a good source of information for budding students just starting their love of non-fiction materials.
Neil Armstrong was an amazing figure in our space history. For kids and grown-ups alike, his message was to believe in yourself and the power of your dreams. He found his passion at a young age and didn’t let anything stand in his way.
This post is a part of Kid Lit Frenzy’s non-fiction picture book Wednesdays. We have currently read 7 non-fiction picture books this year out of our goal of 50. Check out the link-up at Kid Lit Frenzy for some amazing suggestions for other non-fiction books. There are tons I want to get my hands on that I hope J will let me read with her.