Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book of the Week: One Giant Leap

Fifth grade is studying the Moon, and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do a read-aloud about something that I love to read about, which is non-fiction.  Over the summer, I read Too Far From Home: a Story of Life and Death in Space, which is the nail-biting story of the Expedition Six mission to the International Space Station in 2003.  Their three-month trip turned into a five-month trip after the space shuttle Columbia exploded and NASA grounded all other space flights. (They did not bring enough food or supplies for an extended stay, so their return home was in jeopardy).  I was very happy to have read what life was like in orbit, because our reading of One Giant Leap resulted in many questions and discussions about what it is like to travel to space.

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh commemorates the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's Moon landing. The text is accessible and the illustrations are beautifully detailed, yet dreamy at the same time.  The book discusses the feelings and fears of the astronauts and does a wonderful job of giving an inside glimpse of what the men were thinking.  In the future, I might pair this book with another that discusses day-to-day life in orbit (being strapped into bed so they don't float around all night, changing their clothes once a week), but we paired this book with an investigation of NASA's website.  This book would be a great piece of a non-fiction or space-themed lesson.

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