American Moonshot Young Readers' Edition: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

American Moonshot Young Readers' Edition: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
Age Range
Release Date
April 14, 2020
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July 20, 1969. It’s a day that has earned a spot in history. It’s the day that America was the first nation to succeed in sending two astronauts—Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong—to the moon.

But what led to this unforgettable event? What were the stakes riding on the Apollo 11’s safe landing? In acclaimed author Douglas Brinkley’s first young readers' edition, space fans will get the riveting and factual backstory of arguably the most significant achievement of the 20th century.

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Kennedy and the US Space Program
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
NASA and the US space program are a direct result of the increases in aeronautical technology due to World War II, and many of the astronauts began their careers in the military at this time. This books follows the life and career of President John F. Kennedy in tandem with the development of the US space program that led to the first moon shot, sadly, after his death.

The space program was far more political than younger readers may realize, heavily dependent on controversial German scientists like Wernher von Braun, who started out in Nazi rocket development, and motivated by a race with the Soviet Union. Kennedy used the space program in his efforts to win public office, and also to gain funding for US education. If only the public were concerned today that the US was falling behind other countries and needed to catch up!
Good Points
This is a well-researched book with copious end notes and helpful bibliography. There are a few black and white photographs in the text of the book, and a small section of color ones in the center of the paperback. My only quibble with this book is that the paperback, due to its smaller size, has smaller print than most middle grade readers prefer. The detailed nature of the text would make this a good choice for high school readers as well.

2019, the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing, saw a number of books published, including Brown's graphic novel Rocket to the Moon, Johnson's autobiography Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson, Michael Collins's Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story, Ashby's biography Rocket Man: The Mercury Adventure of John Glenn and Siegal's 2020 To Fly Among the Stars. This young readers' edition is a good addition to this collection for pleasure reading or research.
American Moonshot Young Readers' Edition: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
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