Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier
Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier

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Annotation: The U.S. may have put the first man on the moon, but it was the Soviet space program that made Valentina Tereshkova the first woman in space. It took years to catch up, but soon NASA's first female astronauts were racing past milestones of their own. The trail-blazing women of Group 9, NASA's first mixed gender class, had the challenging task of convincing the powers that be that a woman's place is in space, but they discovered that NASA had plenty to learn about how to make space travel possible for everyone.
Catalog Number: #208622
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Wicks, Maris,
Pages: 157 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-76003-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7287-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-76003-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7287-7
Dewey: 920
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
At the attention-grabbing start of Ottaviani and Wicks's second graphic collaboration (Primates, rev. 5/13), a series of panels shows a "famous astronaut" (gender intentionally obscured) shedding gear one item at a time until only stark white long johns remain. With a page-turn, readers meet (female) ex-astronaut Mary Cleave, who drolly admits that she's "maybe not so famous." But she gets the spotlight here--and the narrative reins, too--in a dense and riveting biography that not only tracks Cleave's path to NASA's Group 9 (the second astronaut class to include women) but also weaves in the voices of many trailblazers: Valentina Tereshkova, a Soviet cosmonaut and the first woman in space; the Mercury 13, thirteen American women who passed the same rigorous physical tests given to male astronaut candidates; and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. A well-researched and lively text and tidily composed yet expressive illustrations capture the women's passion, ambition, and know-how--and their indignation and fury at the sexism they faced. Inspirational and funny ("That was Sally's ride") and full of nitty-gritty scientific details about astronaut training and life and work aboard a space shuttle, the book illuminates the women's tough journey to prove that "space is for everyone." Back matter includes an author's note (addressing composite characters and invented dialogue), a bibliography, a how-this-book-was-made spread, and character sketches.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Narrated in large part by Mary Cleave, who was among the second group of women admitted to NASA's astronaut training program, this in-depth and enlightening comic digs into not only the history of women in space but the rigors of the training process in general. There's a lot here, but Ottaviani and Wicks (Primates, 2013) handle it deftly, bringing humor and clarity to the density of the material. The sequence, for instance, in which Jerrie Cobb and Janey Hart testify in a congressional hearing about the importance of including women in the space program is cleverly intercut with scenes of Valentina Tereshkova preparing for her history-making spaceflight. Wicks makes great use of facial expressions ib mockery from the U.S. senators, frustration on Cobb and Hart emphasize just what these women were up against. For all the trail-blazing, however, Ottaviani and Wicks emphasize above all else that the women in these programs are talented pilots and scientists, and they had essential work to do. Yes, some of that work was pushing back against sexist notions (jokes came in particularly handy here), but first, it was successfully operating a space shuttle. Gobs of humor, lively artwork, and tidy explanations of the science make this a standout among the vast field of books about the U.S. space program.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (1/1/20)
Horn Book (4/1/20)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 18,217
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 507209 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: GN590L

In the graphic novel Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier , Jim Ottaviani and illustrator Maris Wicks capture the great humor and incredible drive of Mary Cleave, Valentina Tereshkova, and the first women in space. The U.S. may have put the first man on the moon, but it was the Soviet space program that made Valentina Tereshkova the first woman in space. It took years to catch up, but soon NASA's first female astronauts were racing past milestones of their own. The trail-blazing women of Group 9, NASA's first mixed gender class, had the challenging task of convincing the powers that be that a woman's place is in space, but they discovered that NASA had plenty to learn about how to make space travel possible for everyone .


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