Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

I’m writing this post on Thursday afternoon-tonight we will finally have our Night of Mystery! The kids wore their glow in the dark shirts to school today, and they are so excited about literacy night. I wrote a story for the principal to read at the end of the evening with a surprise ending. I really hope the students enjoy it! ๐Ÿ™‚

My Perfect Picture Book Selection this week is Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, written and illustrated by Brian Floca. It was published by Atheneum Books in 2009. This book is suitable for any age, but the reading and interest level is around third grade.

High above there is the Moon, cold and quiet, no air, no life, but glowing in the sky. Here below there are three men who close themselves in special clothes, who-click-lock hands in heavy gloves, who-click-lock heads in large round helmets. It is summer here in Florida, hot, and near the sea.ย  But now these men are dressed for colder, stranger places. They walk with stiff and awkward steps in suits not made for Earth. They have studies and practiced and trained, and said good-bye to family and froends. If all goes well, they will be gone for one week, gone where no one has been.”

Lesson Link:

Summary, awards, comprehension questions, and curricular activites

Why I like this book: Moonshot is beautifully illustrated and well-written. It is non-fiction, but it read much like a story. Michael Collins, Command Module Pilit for Apollo 11 said, “Reading Moonshot gave me the feeling I was back in space.” What an amazing compliment to the author/illustrator! Moonshot is also a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. This award is given each year to distinguished informational books in the United States. My favorite page in the books is a two page spread of the rocket lifting off. “The rocket is released! It rises foot by foot, it rises pound by pound.” I really like the way Floca uses onomatopeia to create imagery in the story for young readers. His recreation of the events leading up to the launch and after are very real to life. The reader feels the excitement that the people sitting in front of their televisions felt that July day in 1969 when they listened to the sounds from outer space for the first time. At the end, there is a detailed expository piece about the history behind Apollo 11. This is one of the most excellent books about Apollo 11 for children that I haveย  read.


16 responses to “Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

  1. This sounds like an awesome book. I really love non-fiction books that can teach you something but also has a good story to it! I’ll be checking this one out!

  2. This book sounds really terrific. Floca’s use of language is masterful! Kirsten posted Lightships today, another Floca title. I’m definitely going to have to check them out. They both sounds really good, and like books my son would have loved when he was younger. Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope your Mystery Night went really well after all that work and preparation!

    • Thanks, Susanna! Mystery Night was incredible-kind of a blur, but I know it went well. We had a huge turn-out, and now the students are all dying to read all of the mystery series in the library ๐Ÿ™‚ Another Floca title-cool coincidence! I’ll have to check out Kirsten’s post.

  3. Catherine Johnson

    I love how it reads like a story, what a great boy book!

  4. What a great pick! I love all books about space and it is great to find one that can get kids excited too!

  5. Wow, I’m going to have to check this out for my son. Such great selections today!

  6. This book sounds wonderful! I remember so well the thrill it was when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon — to know that the experience has been captured in a way that can bring it to life for children now is a joy.

  7. Fascinating, and the language is truly poetic. My boys are crazy for the moon, so this will be a perfect picture book indeed!

  8. Wow, somehow I missed your entry. So sorry. I always enjoy your picks and this one is absoultely beautiful. It will inspire many wanna be astronauts. I love books about space. And, I particularly liked your sharing the Micahel Collin’s comment really adds credibility to the writing-style and research done by the author. Again, a great selection!

  9. Superb use of language for this nonfiction book. Floca is an author I want to read now! This sounds like it has very wide appeal across the ages and for both boys and girls.

    I am so glad that your Mystery Night went so well, Kelly. I guess you don’t want to post your story on your blog?

  10. Another Brian Floca. I have been in the dark having not discovered him. That’s why I love PPBF! This is a must read for me.

  11. Thanks for sharing a fun non-fiction title. (I’m soooo late on stopping by). I hope the night was fun. I’m sure the children had fun, especially with a special treat โ€“ your story!

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