A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Kevin Henkes (Owen, Oliveâ€™s Ocean).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Katherine Milhous (1894â€“1977), The Egg Tree.
- Actor/martial artist Bruce Lee (1940â€“1973), and musician Jimi Hendrix (1942â€“1970) were also born on this day. Read The Martial Arts Book by Laura Scandiffio and Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.
- Itâ€™s Pins and Needles Day, to commemorate the opening of a Broadway musical in 1937. The play was produced by the International Ladies Garment Workerâ€™s Union. Read The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCully.
On November 18 for National Aviation Month, we looked at Almost Astronauts, the story of some of the astronauts who did not make it into space. To round out the month, letâ€™s take a look at a man who actually traveled to the moon.
In an autobiography of one of our most accomplished astronauts of the twentieth century, Â Reaching for the MoonÂ Buzz Aldrin explains how he got his funny name. His sister called him Buzzer, rather than brother, and the family simply shortened it to Buzz. Aldrin discusses his childhood obsession with flight, which began on his first airplane ride at the age of two, and how he adored the Lone Ranger and wanted to be strong, determined, and independent like his hero.
In pursuit of his desire to fly, he became a West Point cadet, and then an air force pilot stationed in Germany. But when the Mercury flight program, Americaâ€™s first human space flight program, began recruiting potential astronauts, Aldrin knew he wanted to be accepted and needed to find a way to distinguish himself. With great honesty and candor he walks young readers through his processâ€”his need for more education, his first rejection from the program, then his acceptance and training to become an astronaut. Finally, readers follow the space flight of Apollo 11, as Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first two men from earth to walk on the moon. As the plaque they placed that day states â€śWe came in peace for all mankind.â€ť
But the real message of the book can be found in Aldrinâ€™s final note: â€śNot everyone can explore space. But we all have our own moons to reach for. If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed was possible. Just as I have.â€ť
Aldrinâ€™s understated text, for children ages six to ten,Â has been brilliantly illustrated by Wendell Minor. Minor captures Aldrin as a young man and shows his steps along the way to becoming an astronaut. But itâ€™s the illustrations of the moon and space that are truly glorious; better than any photograph, they make you feel as if you are standing on the moon or traveling through space yourself. Together the text and art bring Aldrinâ€™s personal story to lifeâ€”one that can inspire and challenge young readers.
So if you have a budding pilot in your life, or you just want an autobiography that will inspire young readers, pick up Reaching for the Moon. Itâ€”almostâ€”makes me long to travel on a space ship.
Hereâ€™s a page from Reaching for the Moon:
Originally posted November 27, 2010. Updated for 2011.