|To fly among the stars : the hidden story of the fight for women astronauts|
Author: Rissman, Rebecca
A look at the birth of America's space program, and the men and women aviators who set its course.
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/20)
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
Booklist (+) (12/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2019 *Starred Review* While tracing the history of NASA’s space program from the first seven astronauts through the end of their Mercury missions in 1963, this engaging work introduces another group of exceptional American pilots—all women—who wanted to become astronauts as well. When a brigadier general and the doctor who designed many of the grueling physical tests for potential astronauts started an independent research program to measure how women would handle those same challenges, they found many pilots willing to volunteer. NASA’s original astronauts were known as the Mercury 7. These women, called the Mercury 13, were never seriously considered by NASA because of their sex. Russia’s Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space in 1963, and the first American woman didn’t follow until 1983. Siegel’s well-researched book presents a great deal of relevant information in an organized and very readable fashion, telling two parallel stories. The chapters on the Mercury 7 portray the astronauts more realistically than most books for young people. Individually moving, the collective accounts of the Mercury 13 women offer an eye-opening view of pervasive gender prejudice and its costs. Illustrated with period photos, this riveting chronicle of the early years of manned space flight also presents captivating stories of women left behind. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 8 Up—Male and female aviators of the 20th century were setting records and banking flight hours, but career opportunities were often reserved for white men. The origins of the U.S. space program were no different; despite highly qualified women who successfully completed training, NASA chose seven white men to undertake the first journeys to space. Siegel parallels the experiences of the contenders, comparing abilities, training results, and actual missions to clearly show the program's gender bias. Siegel notes, "It wasn't enough for a woman pilot to simply be talented in the 1950s and 1960s. If she wanted to get work, good work, she had to be savvy, too." Women aviators hoping to become test pilots were subjected to judgments of their physical appearance, their likability, and their overall adherence to feminine norms. The highly detailed research, from the descriptions of an early airplane flight to the feeling of simulated weightlessness during astronaut training, forms a powerful collection of knowledge about the space program and the first astronauts, but is not as strong a resource about the women specifically. Readers would be better served by Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream. Siegel's writing style is more conversational than formal, which occasionally distracts from the seriousness of the information. VERDICT A quality work that tells the stories of the first men and women of the U.S. space program, but neglects to put the women in the spotlight.—Casey O'Leary, Meredith Nicholson School 96, IN - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.