A Trip Into Space
written by Lori Haskins Houran; illustrated by Francisca Marquez
2014 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Orange County Library
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Many preschool and kindergarten classes have units about careers. Ever thought of featuring astronauts as a career? A Trip Into Space will teach you all about the life of an astronaut working at the International Space Station. It starts with taking a trip from Earth into space. According to the facts in the back matter, these ships travel as fast as 17,500 miles per hour. It takes less time to travel to the space station than to fly on an airplane from New York to California. When you arrive at the space station, boxes have to be unloaded with new supplies for the crew. Fresh fruits and veggies are especially prized as most food on the space station is freeze dried. Accounting for the lack of gravity is a big deal in this floating lab. Astronauts drink out of pouches and have Velcro to hold down their forks while they are eating. My favorite piece of information and accompanying illustration in this book is that astronauts zip themselves in sleeping bags so they won't float away during sleep. It's also important to be clipped while you are working outside making repairs on the station. Working two hundred miles high is definitely a trip!
With engaging pictures and an easy narrative to follow, young readers will enjoy their trip into space. I've said this plenty of times before, but I'll say it again: We underestimate how hard it is to write good nonfiction for very young readers that can be read over and over again. A Trip Into Space is the rare nonfiction work that would make a great bedtime story. What better way to send yourself off into dreams?