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RACING THE MOON by Alan Armstrong


by Alan Armstrong & illustrated by Tim Jessell

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: June 26th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-85889-5
Publisher: Random House

Obsessed with rocket-building and outer space, two siblings living in Silver Springs, Md., in 1947 find the perfect ally right next door.

Twelve-year-old Alex hangs out with her reckless 17-year-old brother Chuck, who’s always getting them in trouble. Fascinated with radios, radar and rockets, Chuck “can make anything,” but was kicked out of tech school because he “mixes things up when he reads.” Alex’s mother urges her to “act more ladylike,” dress more carefully and pay more attention to schoolwork, but tomboy Alex wants to be another Amelia Earhart. Meeting her new neighbor, Captain Ebbs, Alex finds a mentor who develops space food for the army, sails her own boat and is a descendant of Captain John Smith. Beneath their impulsive behavior, Ebbs recognizes that Alex and Chuck share her passion for aviation and space. She arranges for Alex to meet pioneer rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, organizes a sailing trip to a Chesapeake Bay island near a rocket launch and provides needed direction for the risk-taking duo. Inspired by the real Joan Cotton Ebbs, this chronicle of sibling aeronautical aspiration and misadventure provides a peek at the post–World War II U.S. space program. Realistic pencil-sketch illustrations capture key events.

High-flying adventure grounded in reality. (suggestions for further reading) (Historical fiction. 8-12)