Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, 2009, Candlewick Press, $24.99, hardbound, 133 pages. Cover: pretty cool. Category/Genre: reference/history. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.
This is the true and inspiring story of the Mercury 13 women, who were the first women ever to be trained as astronauts.
Without Randolph Lovelace, the doctor who put the Mercury 7 men through their testing, this likely would not have happened, at least not for a while. But Lovelace believed women are as capable as men, and he had a desire to prove it.
The first was Jerrie Cobb, a pilot who'd broken world records; she fared so well in the testing that it was thought she'd not only do well in space, she would excell there. After her came 18 other women, all pilots and go-getters, all fit. Including Cobb, 13 of the women passed the tests with flying colors.
In this book, you'll learn about some of the grueling tests all astronauts go through, and you'll learn how it was particularly hard for these women – not because they were weaker, but because of the negativity they had to face. One of them was filed divorce papers after testing, and another's boss demoted her.
If you want to read about real bravery and perseverence, try this book.
If you like this one, try: Women of the Wind: Early Women Aviators, by Wanda Langley.
For more about Tanya Lee Stone and her many books, check out her website at: http://www.tanyastone.com/. She writes non-fiction (often about women or African-Americans), teen fiction, and picture books.