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Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Last updated Monday, April 5, 2010

Author: Brian Floca
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 141695046X
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2010

Synopsis: Forty years after NASA’s Apollo 11 mission first landed astronauts on the moon, this striking nonfiction picture book takes young readers along for the ride. The moon shines down on Earth, where three men don spacesuits, climb into Columbia, and wait for liftoff. On a nearby beach, people gather to watch the rocket blast the astronauts into space. The astronauts fly to the moon, circle it, land on it, walk on its surface, and see “the good and lonely Earth, glowing in the sky.” After flying back to the orbiter, they return to Earth and splash down, “home at last.” An appended note discusses the mission in greater detail. Written with quiet dignity and a minimum of fuss, the main text is beautifully illustrated with line-and-wash artwork that provides human interest, technological details, and some visually stunning scenes. The book’s large format offers plenty of scope for double-page illustrations, and Floca makes the most of it, using the sequential nature of picture books to set up the more dramatic scenes and give them human context. The moving image of Earth seen from the moon, for instance, is preceded by a picture of a lone astronaut looking up. A handsome, intelligent book with a jacket that’s well-nigh irresistible. Grades K-3. --Carolyn Phelan

Note to readers:
•  Read book first then talk about the opening covers and spaceship
•  Vocabulary:
•  Apollo: Greek God of Light, prophecy
•  Saturn: Roman God of Agriculture, Harvest
•  Lope:1.an easy natural gait of a horse resembling a canter 2 : an easy usually bounding gait capable of being sustained for a long time

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go to the moon?
•  Have you heard of any of these people?
•  What do these people do?
•  How many people are in the spaceship?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why is there no air on the moon?
•  Why is there no life on the moon?
•  Why do they need those suits?
•  How heavy are these suits?
•  Do you know where Florida and Huston are?
•  How high is 30 stories high? Imagine 30 stories high?
•  What happens to the pieces of the ship that fall off?
•  The ship is referred as “she.”
•  Would you like to float around a ship?
•  Your cell phone has more computer power than this spaceship.
•  Why is this called Apollo 11, and Saturn 5?
•  You can go back to front page and discuss the make up of the spaceship.
•  If you have time, you can read the history in back cover.

Craft ideas:
•  Spaceship from toilet paper roll or construction paper.
•  Create a Lunar Calendar (see Site Coordinator or GLC for instructions)
•  Create phases of the moon wheel (see Site Coordinator or GLC for instructions)

Special activities:
•  Walk and Step like they are on the moon.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!