I Love You, Michael Collins
I Love You, Michael Collins

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Annotation: In 1969, as her own family is falling apart, ten-year-old Mamie finds comfort in conducting a one-sided correspondence with the least famous astronaut heading toward the moon on Apollo 11.
Catalog Number: #161532
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 230 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-374-30385-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1363-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-374-30385-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1363-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016038109
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Assigned to write a letter to an Apollo 11 astronaut weeks before the July 1969 flight, the boys in Mamie's class choose Buzz Aldrin ("best name"), and all the girls but one pick Neil Armstrong ("dreamy"). Mamie, though, writes to Michael Collins. That summer, she and her best friend share an intense interest in the Apollo 11 mission. When her mother suddenly walks out on the family, and her father chases after her, 10-year-old Mamie is left under the spotty supervision of her sisters and finds herself increasingly alone. The story's momentum builds gradually, culminating in the July space flight, moon walk, and splashdown, events that bring people together. Written as a series of letters to Collins, the novel draws parallels between Mamie's experience at home and Collins' role as the astronaut who stays in the orbiting Columbia while the others land on the Moon. The narrative offers accessible dialogue and inherent drama as well as a sense of how the historic Apollo 11 mission affected the folks back home on earth.
Horn Book
This epistolary novel vividly depicts the hope and spirit surrounding the first moon landing in 1969. Ten-year-old Mamie writes to Michael Collins, the astronaut who remains in orbit while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. This theme resonates throughout the book as winsome, resourceful Mamie also "stay[s] with the ship" when her distracted family members temporarily abandon her at home.
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1969, and 10-year-old Mamie Anderson is writing letters to Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins. When Mamie's teacher asks the class to write letters to the astronauts, Mamie is the only one to choose Michael Collins, the one who will stay onboard while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren walk on the moon. Mamie understands the importance of Collins' staying with the ship: if he didn't, "How would they…come home again?" Then Mamie's mother leaves home and her father goes after her. Her elder sister already lives away from home, and 16-year-old sister Bess is always out with her boyfriend. Even her cat runs off. Only loyal friend and neighbor Buster Whitaker keeps Mamie from feeling completely untethered. The story neatly parallels the astronauts' journey, and Mamie's letters to Collins effectively capture her earnest voice, though they are occasionally unconvincing and didactic when teaching history or relating lessons learned. Baratz-Logsted weaves in just enough history to root Mamie's story in her time, a moment when a nation came together and felt proud of human possibilities, but she doesn't allow Vietnam or the civil rights struggle to complicate her determinedly upbeat story. Indeed, Mamie and the rest of the principal cast appear to be all white. Readers will be charmed by Mamie's story of hope in a difficult moment in American history. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
In this epistolary novel set during the charged weeks preceding the Apollo 11 launch, a class assignment prompts 10-year-old Mamie Anderson to write letters to astronaut Michael Collins, while her classmates favor Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, who will actually set foot on the moon. Though some of the letters can be forced (-Do you know what an Erector set is, Michael Collins?-), they are an effective way for Mamie to confide in the astronaut about the escalating tensions between her parents; the absence of her oldest sister, Eleanor (who recently moved out); and 16-year-old sister Bess-s fixation on her boyfriend. Against the highly gendered backdrop of 1969 (all the girls want to marry astronauts, while the boys want to become them), Mamie-s friendship with her neighbor Buster is particularly moving. Mamie and Buster share a fixation on the space race, and Buster remains loyal and constant even as Mamie-s parents- conflict erupts. Mamie-s isolation at home echoes Collins-s solitude in orbit a bit too neatly, but her bravery and loyalty are memorable. Ages 8-12. (June)

School Library Journal
Gr 47In the summer of 1969, NASA prepares to send Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon while 10-year-old Mamie writes letters to Michael Collins, Apollo 11's pilot. When Mamie's mother, an unsatisfied housewife, leaves home, Mamie's father follows, and the girl's support network disintegrates until she is home alone. Mamie hides this fact as she and her best friend Buster research Apollo 11, preparing their own neighborhood celebrations. Space launch drama mirrors Mamie's personal upheaval, her feelings swinging wildly between despair and joy. As Mamie's family members gingerly reconnect, she ties the space launch to her own experiences. Baratz-Logsted pens a quiet gem bubbling with unexpected turmoil. The epistolary format gives Mamie a vehicle to cope with crisis; the letters reveal her to be resourceful and contemplative without sounding stilted or unsympathetic. She writes short, direct sentences that feel childlike yet profound. Throughout the novel, Baratz-Logsted addresses gender roles with a light hand. In Mamie's class, "all the boys [say] they [want] to be astronauts." Then one girl says, "I want to marry an astronaut." The other girls follow suit, but not Mamie. Mamie's mother and older sister Eleanor also explore nontraditional female roles in 1960s society. Mamie's family memberseven when fightingdon't waste words on emotion. This phlegmatic attitude steers the work away from Greek tragedy and makes the rare moments of love resonate more strongly. VERDICT Mamie's story cleverly shifts focus from macro to micro events in ways that children and educators will enjoy. Recommended for all libraries serving middle grade readers.Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/17)
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (5/1/17)
Word Count: 44,813
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 190172 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.3 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q74732
Lexile: 800L

Amazon Editors' Pick Best Books of June 2017 Semifinalist: GoodReads Choice Awards 2017 Best Middle Grade and Children's Book National Council for Social Studies/Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018 The Planetary Society Recommended Space Books for Kids of All Ages 2017 The National Science and Engineering Council of Canada list of books for Science Literacy Week 2018 2018-2019 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award Intermediate Grade list 2018-19 Maine Student Book Award Reading List 2018-2019 Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award List, Grades 3-5 It's 1969 and the country is gearing up for what looks to be the most exciting moment in U.S. history: men landing on the moon. Ten-year-old Mamie's class is given an assignment to write letters to the astronauts. All the girls write to Neil Armstrong ("So cute!") and all the boys write to Buzz Aldrin ("So cool!"). Only Mamie writes to Michael Collins, the astronaut who will come so close but never achieve everyone else's dream of walking on the moon, because he is the one who must stay with the ship. After school ends, Mamie keeps writing to Michael Collins, taking comfort in telling someone about what's going on with her family as, one by one, they leave the house thinking that someone else is taking care of her--until she is all alone except for her cat and her best friend, Buster. And as the date of the launch nears, Mamie can't help but wonder: Does no one stay with the ship anymore? With I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL COLLINS, Lauren Baratz-Logsted has created a heartwarming story about family and being true to yourself. A Margaret Ferguson Book

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