Monday, February 8, 2010

Fly High!

For girls who dare to dream of touching the stars, the space program is a perfect fit. First Sally Ride soared into the heavens. Later, Eileen Collins became the first woman to command a space shuttle. Can you believe there was a time when women couldn’t vote or it was thought going to college might cause women to have mental problems? And yes, there was certainly a time when being an astronaut was an impossible dream for women.

ALMOST ASTRONAUTS: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, Candlewick Press, 2009.

Why “almost?”

During the race into space in the 1960's, Randolph Lovelace was Chairman of NASA’s Life Sciences Committee. He was also the doctor who supervised the testing of the Mercury 7 men. He believed women were as capable as men and he wanted to prove it.

A perfect candidate for this study was aviator Jerrie Cobb. She became the first woman pilot to take all 87 of the physical tests the Mercury 7 men took–and she passed them all. She was also told she complained less than the guys. Dr. Lovelace broke the news that not only were Cobb’s test results outstanding, but certain qualities in women space pilots might make them preferable to male pilots. And then what happened?

Award winning author Stone chronicles the frustrations, progress, disappointments and triumphs of women who possessed the intelligence, skills, and abilities that met all qualifications necessary for the space program at the time. The reader will pull for each of the 13 women and be inspired by their courage and determination.

These thirteen role models stand ready to encourage anyone eager to push boundaries.

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