Sunday, February 17, 2019


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight,
Author Bio, and My Thoughts~

ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

A nation in need of hope, the most powerful rocket ever launched, and the first three men to break the bounds of Earth: Apollo 8 was headed to the moon.

In 1957, when the USSR launched Sputnik I, the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth, America's rival in the Cold War claimed victory on a new frontier. The Space Race had begun, and the United States was losing. Closer to home, a decade of turbulence would soon have Americans reeling, with the year 1968 alone seeing the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy as well as many violent clashes between police and protesters. Americans desperately needed something good to believe in, and NASA's mission to orbit Earth in Apollo 8 and test a lunar landing module was being planned for the end of the year. But with four months to go and the module behind schedule, the CIA discovered that the USSR was preparing to send its own mission around the moon -- another crucial victory in the Space Race -- and it was clearly time for a change of plan. In a volume full of astonishing full-color photographs, including the iconic Earthrise photo, Martin W. Sandler unfolds an incredible chapter in U.S. history: Apollo 8 wouldn't just orbit Earth, it would take American astronauts to see the dark side of the moon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:
Martin W. Sandler has written more than seventy books for children and adults and has written and produced seven television series. He has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and has won multiple Emmy Awards. He lives in Massachusetts.


This book includes all the elements that make up S.T.E.A.M. education!
  • Science: Astronomy, Physics, Rocket Science, Geology, etc.
  • Technology: Computer Science, etc.
  • Engineering: Rocket and Space Module Design, etc.
  • Arts: Photography
  • Mathematics: Many types

Beginning with President John F. Kennedy's 'space race' speech before Congress on May 25, 1961, this book provides a thorough history of what was happening in America and around the globe in the 1950s and 1960s. It also includes a detailed history of space travel and rocket science. Biographies of space pioneers in the areas of engineering, rocketry, and space travel are included.

A narrative about what had happened in the United States in 1968 with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy; the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam which killed four thousand American soldiers; and the violence betweeen protesters and law enforcement at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago stresses the traumas and tragedies the American people had suffered throughout this tubulent year.

These events set the foundation for readers to understand the importance and urgency of the Apollo 8 flight in late December, 1968. The Apollo 8 flight would be different from any other American or Russian manned spaceflights. It would be launched by the largest, most powerful rocket ever designed--Saturn V--and would attempt to become the first flight to allow humans to break free from Earth's force and head for the moon.

Readers are treated to a blow-by-blow chronology of the pre-flight, flight, and post-flight happenings for the Apollo 8 mission. In the 'Epilogue', the author gives an update of the American space program following this historic mission.

The back matter includes a very interesting section entitled, 'Life After Apollo 8', where portraits of the three crew members of Apollo 8 are presented along with their accomplishments after the space flight. Other back matter elements include: 'Source Notes', 'Bibliography', 'Index', and 'Acknowledgments'.

A highlight of the book for me was the stunning array of astonishing photographs taken by the crew members of Apollo 8 when they were in flight. The black & white and color photographs of the earth and the moon are spectacular! Most of them were shots I had never seen before. Even after I finished reading the book I looked at the photographs several more times. Wow!

There is a wide assortment of photos which young readers will find interesting and inspiring. Close-ups of the Saturn V rocket; interior and exterior shots of the Apollo 8 unit and the flight simulator used by the astronauts for training; in-flight photos of the astronauts; and color photos of the splashdown in the Pacific Ocean 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.

The book contains a lot of technical information and higher-level vocabulary and thinking skills, so I feel it may be more appropriate for upper middle-grade students.

Highly-recommended for readers of all ages who are fans of rocketry, space travel, US history, US space travel history, astronauts, astronomy, and photography!

To read more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts, visit Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' blog at:  Always in the Middle

Return to Reading, Writing &
Stitch-Metic tomorrow, Tuesday,
February 19th, for the cover
reveal for my debut middle-grade
release. View the cover, read the
book blurb, and enter to win an
e-book copy of the book by posting
a comment on the cover reveal post.
{Giveaway is open to US &
International entries. Contest
will close on Friday, March 1st,
@ noon PST.}
Hope to see you here!


  1. Ooh, a space book! Kids will really enjoy this!

  2. Great review - and this year's summer reading theme in our state is space, the universe, and everything. I'm jotting this title down on my list of book titles.

  3. The Apollo programs was such an amazing undertaking. This sounds like an important piece for anyone studying this time period of space travel. Thanks for sharing. I'll be looking for it.

  4. I think kids interested in the space will like this. I don't remember a lot about Apollo 8, but I do remember when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and man took their first step.

  5. Sounds like a book kids will enjoy!

  6. I remember all of the early space programs and would enjoy reading this book. Thank you for such a thorough review!

  7. I remember the early space programs. I would enjoy reading this book. Thank you for such a thorough review. Love history.

  8. My husband would have loved this book. He couldn't get enough about the missions to space. I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the review.



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