A compelling look at the history of one of NASA’s most iconic photographs.
In 1968, at a time of worldwide instability, NASA’s Apollo 8 mission accomplished the historic feat of the first manned spacecraft not only to leave Earth’s orbit, but also to enter that of the moon. And from that most distant and alien of perspectives, the three white astronauts snapped a color photo of their planet Earth. Called Earthrise, the photograph stirred the imaginations of people around the globe as they looked at themselves for the first time as inhabitants of one world from over 220,000 miles away. Gladstone’s prose is factual but richly so, as he puts historical record and mission transcripts to effective use to recapture the amazement and unity inspired by this momentous first in space travel. Not to be outdone, Lundy’s illustrations are almost minimalist in their simple lines and shading and swathes of color that nonetheless provide intricate emotional detail, from the tension of mission control to the inky wonder of space to the exhilaration of the racially diverse public, including one young, brown-skinned space enthusiast in afro puffs. An understated but arresting double-page spread presents Earthrise as a visual climax even as a figurative hush falls over the narrative. Despite what feels like a slightly obvious attempt at relevance with not-so-subtle messages of unity in the face of global unrest, the book’s whole far outweighs the sum of its parts.
For any fan of Earth. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-8)