Thematic Reading List : The Space Race
Learn about the people who made space travel happen. Recommended for grades 5 and up.
By: Margot Lee
Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Drawing on the oral histories of scores of these “computers,” personal recollections, interviews with NASA executives and engineers, archival documents, correspondence, and reporting from the era, Hidden Figures recalls America’s greatest adventure and NASA’s groundbreaking successes through the experiences of five spunky, courageous, intelligent, determined, and patriotic women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden, and Gloria Champine.
|Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the hidden rivalries that ignited the Space Age
By: Matthew Brzezinski
The behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space. Khrushchev was frustrated at America’s U-2 spy plane, which flew too high to be shot down. But Russia’s chief rocket designer had an answer: an artificial satellite that would orbit the earth and cross American skies at will. The launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 stunned the world. Sputnik set in motion events that led not only to the moon landing but also to cell phones, federally guaranteed student loans, and the wireless Internet. Journalist Brzezinski takes us inside the Kremlin, the White House, secret military facilities, and the halls of Congress to bring to life the Russians and Americans who feared and distrusted their compatriots as much as their rivals.
|Mission control, this is Apollo: the story of the first voyages to the moon
By: Andrew Chaikin and Victoria Kohl
Illustrated by Alan Bean
Based on interviews with 28 astronauts, this history of the Apollo program masterfully describes the missions and personalizes them with astronauts’ own words.
|T-minus: the race to the moon
By: Jim Ottaviani
Illustrated by: Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon
The whole world followed the countdown to sending the first men to the moon. This is the story of the people who made it happen, both in the rockets and behind the scenes.
|The space race: how the cold war put humans on the moon
By: Matthew Brenden Wood
Illustrated by: Sam Carbaugh
Looks at the history of the space race, detailing how the United States and the Soviet Union competed in space exploration in the 1960s.
|To the moon! The true story of the American heroes on the Apollo 8 spaceship
By: Jeffrey Kluger and Ruby Shamir
The inspiring true story of Apollo 8, the first crewed American spaceship to break free of Earth’s orbit and reach the moon.
|The Exploration of the Moon: how American astronauts traveled 240,000 miles to the moon and back, and the fascinating things they found there
By: Jenna Glatzer
Discusses the Apollo space program of the 1960s, the later unmanned NASA probes of the moon, and describes the effects of space flight on the astronauts and some of what has been learned about the moon.