NONFICTION

Moon Mission: The Epic 400-Year Journey to Apollo 11

index. photos. resources. Kids Can. May 2019. 128p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525300363.
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Gr 4-8–An engaging second-person point of view narrative puts readers into the place of the astronauts in this detailed exploration of the triumphs and near-disasters of the Apollo 11 mission and the science and scientists who made it possible. Each of the 11 chapters, or “Episodes,” begins with a four-page section (“Stage One”) that explains what is going through a person’s head as, for instance, they’re sitting in “what is essentially a giant thermos” nine seconds before liftoff, or when a person in the moon lander approaches the moon’s surface at 3,007 mph and the program alarm sounds indicating that the onboard computer has overloaded. Then there is a two-page “Stage Two” that introduces scientists like Wernher von Braun and Isaac Newton, or describes events like a CIA mission that secretly took apart and examined the Soviet Union’s Luna spacecraft in 1959. Finally, the two-page “Stage Three” section reads more like a traditional nonfiction title, informing readers about topics such as gravity, trivia about the Apollo 11 astronauts, and theories about the formation of the moon. This repeating, predictable structure makes the book more accessible to less proficient readers, and the unique narrative structure is captivating. Another fun feature within each chapter is a repeating sidebar that positions an important figure and discovery in STEM history as a mystery to be solved at the conclusion of the chapter.
VERDICT A standout title in the crowded field of Apollo 11 celebrations. Highly recommended

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