Thursday, December 8, 2011




Summary: Stone relates the amazing journey of the Mercury 13: thirteen women who trained to become astronauts in an age where prejudice still demanded the woman’s place was in the home. When a group of women were invited to train for the possibility of becoming astronauts, several female pilots answered the call. These women trained for months and some even logged more training time than John Glenn. They passed rigorous physical and mental tests. IN the end, a congressional hearing was called to determine if these women were to be allowed into space. The answer was a crushing no. However, the book begins and ends with the surviving members of the group watching Eileen Collins, the first female commander of a space mission, blast off into space and fulfill their collective dream.


Stone, T. l. (2009) Almost astronauts: 13 women who dared to dream. Bridgewater, NJ:

Paw Prints.

Impression: I felt that there was a quiet power to this book that is essentially about how women were denied their right fly. The expansive photos really made the book personal, as the reader saw each face of these courageous women. Especially, Jerrie Cobb, who  led the way for other female pilots to train. The prologue and the ending, where the members watch Eileen Collins go into space, was especially moving for me.


Lehner, L. (2009. December). [Book review of Almost astronauts: 13 women who dared to dream, by

                T. L. Stone]. VOYA Available from  VOYA  website:

In 1960, thirteen American women passed the physical exams required to become astronauts as surely as any of the men already involved in NASA's early space flight endeavors, but they were disqualified solely because of their gender. This book is their story. Pilot Jerrie Cobb was invited at the age of twenty-eight by a private foundation working with NASA to participate in the same type of testing that the Mercury 7 astronauts had to take she jumped at the chance. She passed the difficult physical challenges more successfully and with far less complaining than some of her male counterparts. Cobb opened the door for twenty-four additional female pilots to undergo the strenuous testing. Twelve passed, only to be told in a directive from Vice President Lyndon Johnson that NASA would not be accepting female astronauts into their program. Their story then continues through the milestones for women in space up to the present Sunita Williams was appointed in 2008 to the most senior astronaut position at NASA Stone does an admirable job of compiling and crediting her facts and figures and of profiling these strong and adventurous women. Many historical photographs help tell the story, changing dramatically from black and white to full color as women take their rightful positions in the American space program. The staccato writing and authorial intrusions can confuse the narrative at times, but any girl with an interest in space flight or the history of women's rights will enjoy this account and applaud these courageous pioneers

Uses: This book could be used in a variety of ways. Programs on NASA, women’s rights and astronauts could include this book. I think one of the best ways to use this book , would be to do a class visit on forgotten heroes. It could be paired up with a book about Claudette Colvin among others. This could coincide with the class’s history portion and then each student could choose from a list of names and do research on a historical figure that time has forgotten.

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