Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space

To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space

Carmella Van Vleet, Dr. Kathy Sullivan
Illustrator:  Nicole Wong 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Charlesbridge, 2016   ISBN: 978-1580896443

Kathy Sullivan was a naturally curious child. She pored over the aircraft plans that her father brought home from work. She dreamed of traveling in airplanes so that she could “see the whole world!” She thought that perhaps she could become a spy or a diplomat when she grew up so that she could be an “adventurer.” Her peers and grownups all told her that girls did not grow up to do jobs like that. Instead, they became mothers, teachers, or nurses.

Kathy did not let these people’s words influence her. When she was a teen she learned how to fly a plane. She was even willing to fly as a passenger in a Breezy, a minimal plane that was like “A magical kitchen chair that could fly.” Since the plane had no external walls, Kathy could see the world below her just by looking down.

Kathy’s courage and her adventurous spirit would lead her down a path that no woman had ever taken. After going to several universities and getting her doctorate, she was offered two singular opportunities. She could go for an interview with NASA, or she could work on a deep-sea submersible. Not surprisingly, Kathy chose to be a candidate to become an astronaut. Kathy was going to do everything she could so that she could take the ultimate trip: she was going to go into space.

At the back of the book readers will find a note from Kathy which further explains how and why Kathy choose to do what she did. There is also more information about Kathy’s life and her achievements. In addition, there is information about the women who achieved “firsts” in NASA’s space program. Here readers will read about Kathy, Sally Ride, and many other women who went into space.