March 10, 2016
To the Stars! The First American Women to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Vleet and Dr. Kathy Sullivan, illustrated by Nicole Wong
To the Stars!
The First American Women to Walk in Space
by Carmella Van Vleet and Dr. Kathy Sullivan
illustrated by Nicole Wong
When Kathy Sullivan was growing up in the 1950s, she wanted to be an adventurer. Her friends didn’t understand. Adventurer wasn’t a girl’s job. She should want to be a nurse or a teacher or, more likely, a mom. Fortunately, Sullivan didn’t worry about what people expected.
You may not recognize her name, but Dr. Kathy Sullivan is an astronaut and scientist. She was the first American woman to walk in space. She flew three Space Shuttle missions in her fifteen years with NASA including the mission that launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
Her biography is told as two parallel story lines. In one, young readers learn about things she did as a girl. In the second, they read about things that she did as an astronaut that parallel her childhood adventures. Studying her father’s blueprints for aircraft preceded her study of maps and various NASA documents to prepare for her flights. Doing a cannonball into the water preceded her underwater training for weightlessness in space. From earning her pilot’s license to taking off as a passenger in a Breezy, an aircraft with no cabin around the pilot and passengers, Sullivan’s early life fed into the adventures she would have as an astronaut.
Although the afterward discusses other women in NASA, the focus of this book is clearly Sullivan. Although times have changed and girls are no longer restricted to teaching or being nurses, many young people are discouraged from dreaming big. This book will show them that even the stars are within their grasp.
Share it with your young reader who is interested in space or science. Share it with the child who needs a bit of encouragement because if Kathy Sullivan could find such an unusual way to use her gifts, they too will almost certainly find a way to shine.