Jain, Mahak. The Only Astronaut. Kids Can Press, 2023. 978-1-525-30736-2. $19.99. Grades PreK-2.
Avni loves that she is the only astronaut in her special space station. With it only being her, she gets to make all the decisions – what missions will she travel on, when will she leave, and what will she take with her. At times though it can be hard being the only one in your own space station, such as when your rocket ship breaks down or there are too many tasks to do. Avni makes an important decision: she needs to find an assistant! Will she be able to find an assistant up for the task?
THOUGHTS: A fun imagination story! Two heads can be better than one, leading to new missions to different places!
Stamper, Phil. The Gravity of Us. Bloomsbury YA, 2020. 978-1-547-60014-4. 320 p. $17.99. Grades 9-12.
Everyone’s lives are more visible to others than they used to be. Cal Lewis knows that best because he is always live streaming news and weekend updates from his homebase in Brooklyn. His life gets viewed from a different angle when his dad is selected as the final candidate for NASA’s Mars exploration project that is highly covered by a reality television company. From leaving his best friend at a critical time to meeting other AstroKids while continuing to cultivate media communication plans for his own content and others, this sweet story is representative and hits on woes of being a 21st century teen. Stamper does a fantastic job of illustrating why Mars exploration is an important endeavor, whether publicly or privately funded.
THOUGHTS: If you have room on your coming of age shelf, this is a great addition for your space nerds, LBGTQ+ community, and anyone who is looking for a fresh take on being a teen in the roaring 2020s.
Realistic Fiction Samantha Hull, Ephrata Area SD
Ottaviani, Jim. Astronauts: Women of the Final Frontier. First Second, 2020. 978-1-626-72877-6. 157 p. $19.99. Grades 5-8.
From page one this graphic novel challenges sexist thinking showing an astronaut taking off their suit to reveal Mary Cleave, one of the first women in space. Throughout the story astronauts like Mary Cleave and Valentina Tereshkova work hard and accomplish many feats despite the sexism they face in their daily lives. At one point John Glen and other famous male astronauts laugh at the possibility of having women join men on space missions. The story explores the diverse paths that led these astronauts to their jobs at NASA and the impressive talent, work ethic, and intense training these astronauts had to be able to operate a spaceship. The illustrations are fun, and the format allows readers of all abilities to be introduced to the incredible science behind space exploration. After reading about the lives of these trailblazers, readers will be inspired to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and pursue their passions.
THOUGHTS: A good addition to any graphic novel collection. The story will be appreciated by readers of nonfiction and graphic novels and will encourage readers to learn more about space flight and the history of women in space.
629.45 Manned Space Flight Jaynie Korzi, South Middleton SD