Moon and Space Books

I’ve long been fascinated with space; staring up at the twinkling lights above imagining being one of the first people to see them and thinking up stories to explain how they got there, or pondering if there’s anything else alive out there. If I weren’t so darn claustrophobic, I’d be saving up my pennies for one of those tourist trips on a rocket ship so I could voyage into the great unknown and see the stars and planets and swirling, multi-colored universes.

Earlier this year I read a book that shaped much of the rest of my reading for the year, a book I gushed about, foisted on both of my book clubs, and mulled over during many empty moments. And it was all about space!

Fifty years ago the world was in turmoil (sound familiar?) The president saw a need for something to bring the country together, to put a temporary halt to the violence and chaos that were dividing the country, to give us something to work on and root for together. (Yeah, that part doesn’t sound too familiar right now, darnit.) So, he made a bold proclamation that America would be the first to reach the moon. And we were off.

Enter Rocket Men, by Robert Kurson. He starts with a brief re-cap of the tumultuous events around the country and world in 1968, Kennedy’s announcement and the ensuing space race. And then he takes time to introduce us to each of the three men who would make history by venturing to the moon. We get a great glimpse into the lives of the three key players of the Apollo 8 mission (Frank Borman, James Lovell, and Bill Anders), their backgrounds, training, and everything that brought them to be in the right place at the right time. We also get to watch the fledgling organization known as NASA navigate wholly uncharted waters. We cheer along with the rest of humanity (in retrospect) as the men loop around to the dark side of the moon and emerge safely on the other side. And we feel just a little more hopeful about the world and humanity as we view the famous earthrise photo, our first glimpse of the sphere of green and blue that supports life as we know it.

This is the ultimate mix of history, biography, adventure, exploration, and the celebration of the human spirit. I was wowed and amazed at nearly every page. The hubs and I read this one out loud to each other and constantly paused to exclaim over the gall of the people involved. We were amazed over and over again at passages that talked about engineers and mathematicians who had a strictly pen and paper proof of something convince the astronauts to climb into overgrown tin cans and launch themselves into the final frontier where literally no man had gone before, with only mathematical equations to guarantee that they would survive and return safely. And the astronauts’ courage to risk their lives to do it.

If you need a little bit more hope in your lives, I cannot recommend this book enough. And if you love this one as much as I do here are a few others to keep you reading!

Moon and Space Booklist

Fiction Picture Books

Moon by Britta Teckentrup

Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer

Astronaut Annie by Suzanne Slade (see my review here)

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom I’m Off to the Moon by Dan Yaccarino

Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed

Non-Fiction Books for Kids

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin

A is for Astronaut by Clayton Anderson

A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman (see my review here)

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by  Laurie Wallmark

Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins

Moonshot by Brian Floca

Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

I Am Neil Armstrong by Brad Meltzer

Earthrise by James Gladstone

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh

The Moon by Seymour Simon

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty

Non-Fiction Books for Teens and Adults

First Man by James R. Hansen

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (MG and Picture book versions also available)

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Women in Space by Karen Bush Gibson

Fiction Books for Teens and Adults

The Martian by Andy Wier

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Picture Book Review ~ Mabel and Sam at Home

Bridging the gap between a picture book and early chapter book this tale of a brother and sister duo is sure to please.

Having moved into a new house the two were feeling a bit discombobulated amongst the movers and boxes and chaos. Nothing was as it should be and everything felt foreign and new. So they made the most of it by commandeering a box and setting sail on a grand adventure.

First Mate Sam and Captain Mabel voyage in the Handle With Care over rough seas, past pirates and sea serpents to a new land. But they’re not sure they’re ready for the dangers that may wait for them outside of the safety of their boat.  But eventually hunger wins out and Sam makes the first daring move.

Next Mabel becomes a tour guide among the artifacts that used to belong in the before house. At the New House Museum she imparts her wisdom and experience but again Sam gets to have his say.

In the final chapter the two adventurers are off to space exploring the darkness and their new surroundings. This time its mom and dad to the rescue and as they all bed down for the night they’re eager for the prospects of more exploring on the horizon.

Sweet tales of adaptation and confronting fears with heart and soul and adorable details.

Mabel and Sam at Home book review

Mabel and Sam at Home: One Brave Journey in Three Adventures

Written by: Linda Urban

Illustrated by: Hadley Hooper

Publisher: Chronicle, 2018

Number of Pages: 56

Age Range: 4-8

Rating: 4/5

Mabel and Sam at home book review2

A Bit of Poetry ~ Rumi

Rumi Renewal From the Fall

I came upon this poem by Rumi not too long ago and it is such a beautiful concept of fall. Life is full of hard things and while we tend to try to avoid them we can often look back at those trials and see how they helped to lead us to the people and places we needed or have shaped us to become stronger or teach us important lessons. I, for one, have a hard time seeing the beauty in the situation while I’m in it. It generally takes a few years  (if at all) for me to recognize all the positive points of a negative situation. But nature does a better job of accepting what is and taking things in stride. Fall is a natural state of being and part of life and death. With each season of ruin comes an eventual rebirth and rebuilding, with each fall comes the spring. And each season holds its own glorious beauty if we know how to recognize it and appreciate it.

My challenge to you for the next few weeks is to take a moment to step outside and take in the beauty that surrounds you. And remember that when your own life mimics the cycles of the seasons that there’s a beauty to be found in each one. Even if it seems as if everything around you is falling down and apart and into ruin its all just part of the plan. Our desecration, just like nature’s, leads to a remaking, a glorious spring. (You just have to survive winter first!)

Fall Aspens

Nighttime Musings

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.     

A Parade of Elephants end pages

One of the perks of not being able to sleep (if it can be thought of as a perk) is that you get the house, and often the world, to yourself at odd hours of the night. A few nights ago I was up wandering around 3 am or so, reheating a heat pack and making me some chamomile tea. The house was silent aside from the sounds of settling that seem to happen only when it thinks no one is listening. There was a hint of horizontal light peeking through the blinds from the streetlamps out front and the odd glow of an alarm clock and charging laptop, enough to light my way to the kitchen without having to turn on an overhead light.

As I was waiting for my water to heat I looked out the back window and realized I wasn’t alone. Across the road and through the trees I could see not one, not two but three windows illuminated in the darkness. I wondered at the circumstances behind the too-early-morning shine. Did my neighbors have jobs that forced them to be up at this hour? Were there new babies in the house that needed feeding or comforting? Perhaps they’d received bad news, a late night phone call that forced all sleep from them? Or, like me, did they simply have nights when sleep, no matter how welcome and wished for, wouldn’t come?

I leaned my forehead against the cool pane and let the steam from my mug fog the glass as one by one the lights winked out and I was alone again with the night. Misery, no matter how brief, loves company and it was a comfort to share my insomnia with strangers. And with that feeling of unknown of alliance and companionship I headed back upstairs to cuddle under the blankets and drift off to sleep.

A Parade of Elephants

 

*Both images are taken from this adorable book by Kevin Henkes.

 

Kindness is the Answer

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.   

Even after all these years I struggle to put into words the feelings I felt watching the Towers fall that fateful September day. Anger, fear, shock, awe, gratitude, wonder, amazement and everything in between coursed through my veins at various moments over the days that followed and still do when I stop to really think about what happened to individuals, communities and our nation (and world) as a whole. At a remembrance program this evening one of the speakers mentioned that he missed the feelings of September 12th. After the biggest shock had settled in (it would never really wear off) there was room for the outpourings of love and faith and hope and humanity that surged immediately after the attacks. Our country is in desperate need of those feelings again and each of us has the choice and opportunity daily to either react and give in to the hatred and negativity that we are constantly bombarded with or take a stand and represent the love, hope, positivity, goodness and more that each of us needs in our lives.

On a similar note, if you haven’t heard about or had a chance to watch the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, I highly recommend you do so immediately. Fred Rogers was an incredible example of living your beliefs and accepting everyone for who they are. You can’t help but walk out of the movie theater feeling lighter, more hopeful, and eager to share that light and glow with everyone you come in contact with. And that was exactly his point. You don’t need to do anything over the top or miraculous, just be you. And let those around you be them. Love and appreciate each other for our similarities and differences. There’s a great magic in accepting and being accepted and that magic can change the world.

I can’t wait to learn more when I dig into his biography a little later as well. Darn library hold list…I think I’m #126. :/ But if you get a chance check out The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King and let me know how it is!

I’ll leave you with a few quotes by the great man and the challenge to make a difference today, tomorrow wherever you may be.

How Important Mr Rogers quote

 

Mr Rogers quote self worth

 

Mr Rogers quote be kind

Words of Wisdom ~ Ortega y Gasset

Bryce Sunrise
Beyond living and dreaming
There is something more important:
Waking up.
~Ortega y Gasset

This is a truth I’ve been trying to learn recently. For me, it’s sort of akin to acceptance and letting go. Dreams are great and necessary as is the monotony of every day living but when those two things meld together there’s a beautiful catharsis that occurs. We awaken to the possibilities of our dreams without holding them up as unrealistic expectations that are bound to disappoint and we begin to see the blessings in every day amidst the struggles and drudgery that often weigh us down. We accept the truth and reality of our current situation but recognize that we are not limited by those situations while concurrently recognizing that failure to live a particular dream or reach an expected milestone does not equal failure. When we wake up to each moment and fully live it we can experience something deeper than the moment itself.

**As part of surrendering to imperfections I acknowledge the ‘failure’ of a past blog and absorb a few of those former posts here in the new format. So please enjoy a few repeat posts, or if you for some reason followed me before please re-enjoy them a second time! 🙂