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ALMOST ASTRONAUTS by Tanya Lee Stone Kirkus Star

ALMOST ASTRONAUTS

13 Women Who Dared to Dream

By Tanya Lee Stone

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3611-1
Publisher: Candlewick

The fascinating, dramatic story of the “Mercury 13,” a group of women aviators who proved to be as courageous, intelligent and fit as any man, but who were nonetheless barred from NASA’s astronaut program because of their gender. At the center of the story is Jerrie Cobb, a veteran pilot who successfully completed every test given to male astronauts. Her performance, and that of the others, proved women had the “right stuff,” but these findings were not enough to overcome the prevailing prejudices of the time. It took 20 years before NASA admitted women into the astronaut program. Stone poignantly chronicles how the efforts of Cobb and her colleagues were ridiculed and thwarted by everyone from Vice-President Lyndon Johnson to Mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter and John Glenn and—in a bitter irony—Jackie Cochran, a highly respected, trailblazing female pilot, who appeared to be motivated by jealousy and spite. The author offers great insight into how deeply ingrained sexism was in American society and its institutions. Handsomely illustrated with photographs, this empowering story will leave readers inspired. (foreword, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10 & up)