Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11

Floca, Brian (Author/Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2009. 44 pages
First published: 2009
ISBN: 9781416950462 (hardcover)
9781481409858 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 629.45
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

figurative language, layout, multimodal, setting

Award

Robert F. Sibert Honor Book – 2010

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This award-winning picture book offers an intimate look at the flight of Apollo 11. The story follows the astronauts through their preparation, the complex control room operations and the highly televised blast off, followed by life inside the spaceship, including space food, free-floating objects and waste management.

The language is simple and poetic at times: “It is summer here in Florida, hot, and near the sea. But now these men are dressed for colder, stranger places. They walk with stiff and awkward steps in suits not made for Earth.”

The illustrations are in striking watercolours. One illustration fills two pages with a star-filled sky and the glowing shuttle travelling toward the moon. In another, space food labelled “beef hash” and “peanut cubes” flies around a sleeping astronaut in a suit labelled “sleep restraint.” Readers can learn as much through the detailed illustrations as through the text.

A nostalgic vision of Earth is also offered: “In that blank and starless sky … high above there is the Earth, rushing oceans, racing clouds swaying fields and forests.” In the end, the astronauts are pleased to return to warmth, light and family. Apollo 11 honours this historic achievement as well as Earth’s profound beauty.

  •  Discuss the question: Why do astronauts go into outer space? What purpose does space travel have for us on planet Earth?
  •  

    Imagine that you are an astronaut on the first manned mission to the moon. Write journal entries for the days leading up to the launch, the launch and mission, and your return to Earth. What are some of your concerns and fears?

  •  

    Review the stages of the mission from lift-off to transposition to docking and ejection, etc. For each stage, write out possible dangers and errors that could occur that would jeopardize the entire mission.

  •  

    Research the training it takes to be an astronaut. Make a manual on how to become one of the few who are chosen by NASA to fly into space.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you know about the flight of Apollo 11. Explore the front endpapers. Identify the astronauts, the parts of the vessels and the timeline of the journey.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Discuss the character traits needed by these men. Why don’t we see any women? Discuss the feelings you think could be involved through the different steps of this journey.

  •  

    Discuss how the text is written. Choose a short poem form such as acrostic, diamante or haiku to represent what happens on a selected page. Use some of the appropriate technical words.

  •  

    Research how space science has evolved since 1969. Draw a timeline that highlights the different achievements for humanity.

  •  

    If you were given the choice (and the training), would you take a trip to the moon? Why or why not? Find someone who gave the opposite answer and try to change their mind.

  •  As you read, notice how the author structures the free verse poem, from the length of each verse and line to the division of stanzas.
  •  

    Once you’ve finished reading, go back and divide the book into five or six distinct sections. Give each section a subtitle. Exchange answers with someone else and compare your section choices. Discuss any parts that seem unclear.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Science and Technology