Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A is for Astronaut: Blasting Through the Alphabet

A is for Astronaut: Blasting Through the Alphabet

Clayton Anderson
Illustrator:  Scott Brundage 
Poetry and Nonfiction Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018   ISBN: 978-1585363964

Many people all over the world dream of becoming astronauts. They imagine themselves traveling in a space shuttle or floating in space. They look at images of men and women who are living and working in space. What is really like to be an astronaut?

In this fascinating alphabet book Clayton Anderson, a retired astronaut who has spent many days aboard the International Space Station, helps his readers to better understand what it is like to be an astronaut. For every letter of the alphabet he gives us a poem and a section of text that explore a topic. Not surprisingly for the letter A we find out about Astronauts who “fly into space / and assume many roles.” When you are one of only a few people out there you have to be able to do many things, including cutting the hair of your comrades. We also learn that the first seven men who became NASA astronauts were former fighter pilots and they were known as the Mercury 7.

For the letter D we learn that for engineers and scientists data - knowledge - “is key,” and data is what astronauts collect in space. They gather information of all kinds and then send it to Earth where people who know how to use and interpret the data correlate and study it.

On the page for the letter H we learn about helmets, that vital piece of equipment that keeps the astronauts safe and allows them to see, communicate, and record what they are up to. Other topics covered in the book includes orbital inclination, space walks, and cosmic x-rays, and we find out what the word “zulu” means in the astronaut world.

This wonderful book will appeal to readers young and old who look up at the stars and who wonder what it would be like to be up there.