Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space

Property of Armchair Interviews


The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space
Written by Gary Bush
Illustrated by Nick Derington
Stone Arch Books

Reviewed by Laura V. Hilton

Fourteen year old, Ramon Garza’s grades have started slipping since his father died, and Ramon’s attitude needs major adjusting as he keeps getting into fights at school. In desperation, Ramon’s mom asks to take him up to the NASA center where she works in food service, a nowhere job, according to Ramon.

As Ramon is forced to sit in the cafeteria and do his homework every day after school, he gets to know some of the astronauts as they come in and some of them even offer to help him with his homework, explaining how important math, science and other subjects are to their career.

Apollo 13 is launched on April 11, 1970, and Ramon has enjoyed getting to know the crew and watching the shapeship launch, but only two days after launch, the mission goes horribly wrong. Now Ramon has a front row seat at what could be the greatest disaster or rescue in American history.

I was too young to remember Apollo 13 when it occurred, but I did enjoy reading this children’s book about the most successful failure in history. Part of the book is written in cartoon format, and part of it is written in story form.

The Flight of Apollo 13: Lost in Space gives a lot of valuable information about the mission, about NASA, and about what children would need to study if they want to be an astronaut when they grow up (which most kids do, as some point or another).

There is a glossary, more information about Apollo 13 (which was quite fascinating), and discussion questions and writing prompts included at the end of the book, which makes it invaluable to school children, no matter which form of education they are in, public, private, or home. There are also an information page for internet sites, if the reader wants more information. 49 pages. Guided Reading Level: N.

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