Friday, July 18, 2014

45 Years Ago

Do you know what July 20th is? If you're a space nerd, you know that it's the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!  What better opportunity than to check out our awesome books on space!

I was on the 2010 Jefferson Cup committee that named Mission Control, This is Apollo as one of the honor books (I wrote the annotation on this page); it's a gorgeously written and illustrated book that covers all aspects of space travel (including the question of toilet matters that every astronaut is asked about) and all 17 Apollo missions. 

I have been recommending the You Choose series ever since we received them, and order new ones when I can; these choose-your-own-adventure stories are not only super fun interactive stories, but they are also packed with amazing facts! The Race to the Moon focuses on the space race and the Apollo moon landing. Readers can choose to be a young rocket scientist, a journalist, or a mission control specialist. 

The Apollo 11 moon landing involved many more people than just the three astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins). Team Moon pays tribute to the 400,000 people involved not only with mission control, but engineers, seamstresses, software technicians, and many more.  

We recently enjoyed an Out of This World story time at our branches, which featured stories about space and space activities (making paper rockets, drawing constellations, and making flying saucers).  Warrenton's toddler story time enjoyed stories and fingerplays about the moon and space travel, including these favorites:

Christine Loomis's adventurous bunnies star in Astro Bunnies, an intergalactic experience with stars and bunnies from another planet. Super silly and fun to read aloud! 

It's hard to beat 8 Spinning Planets for an introduction to the 8 planets. Told in a (workable!) rhyme scheme, young readers and listeners are introduced to basic facts about each planet.  Young children will enjoy the 3-D representation of each planet. 

Happy Birthday Moon features Frank Asch's young and lovable bear, who takes a fancy to the moon.  It has a bit more conversation than what I normally like to include in a story time selection, but it's a must read for a moon/space story time. 

The bumbling and wacky sheep from the classic Sheep in a Jeep are back in Sheep Blast Off .  Instead of causing chaos in a jeep, they wreck havoc in a space ship! This is a quick read aloud, but you should practice beforehand to minimize the chance of tripping over your tongue! 

Finally, if you're a grown up space enthusiast, these might catch your eye. I searched our catalog for related books and immediately wanted to bring every book home that I found. I managed to settle on the following:

Several articles about the Apollo astronauts mention that First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong is the book to read about this famously private man.  

Buzz Aldrin has become an elder statesman of the space program; with the 45th anniversary approaching, he's in much demand for his thoughts on Apollo 11's legacy, the current state of NASA, and the future of Mars exploration.  The stress and fame of being the first astronauts on the moon took their toll on the Apollo 11 astronauts, including depression (Neil Armstrong spoke about randomly bursting into tears in the days and months after the flight) and marital strife, which Buzz Aldrin is open about in his memoir, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon.

Tom Wolfe's classic account of the space race and the Apollo missions is brought to new life in this expanded and illustrated edition. I peeked at this dense account right before I went to sleep, and it looks fantastic. 

While the astronauts were away from home training for space mission (and occasionally getting into mischief), their wives were holding down the home front, raising the children, and dealing with the constant media attention on their hairstyles, wardrobe, and their interactions with their husbands and children.  The Astronaut Wives Club is a hugely entertaining, fascinating, and occasionally heartbreaking tribute to these unique women. 

(ALSO....I won't talk about it until later in the month, but Lynne Sherr's new biography of Sally Ride is a must read for space fanatics.  Now, someone PLEASE write a history of the six women who were in NASA's first class of female astronauts. The success of The Astronaut Wives Club, The Girls of Atomic City, and Sherr's biography strongly demonstrate that books about women's history, especially science history, can and will be well received by the general book buying--and borrowing!-- public.  I also want an overview of NASA Group 8. Someone--make it happen! ) 

As you can guess, there are tons of awesome websites about the Apollo 11 mission and anniversary: 

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum tribute. They ran a mock "live tweet"  @Relive Apollo11

@NASAKennedy also ran a mock "live tweet" of the launch on July 16.

(Did you know that astronauts on the International Space Station are active on Twitter?)

Buzz Aldrin is spearheading a major social media campaign to collect people's memories of the moon landing (as he says, he, Armstrong, and Collins were "out of town" for the big day). You can get more details about #Apollo45 on his website. has information on NASA's planned activities for the anniversary.

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

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