Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn by John Glenn, Don Mitchell |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn

Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn

by John Glenn

View All Available Formats & Editions

War hero, test pilot, American astronaut, and U.S. Senator—for John Glenn, serving his country has always been a joyous adventure. How does a boy from a small Ohio town grow up to become one of the most enduring heroes in American history?

Young readers find out as they follow his inspiring story from his schoolboy days in New Concord, Ohio, to his adventures


War hero, test pilot, American astronaut, and U.S. Senator—for John Glenn, serving his country has always been a joyous adventure. How does a boy from a small Ohio town grow up to become one of the most enduring heroes in American history?

Young readers find out as they follow his inspiring story from his schoolboy days in New Concord, Ohio, to his adventures as a highly decorated Marine Corps pilot in both World War II and the Korean War, a test pilot, one of the seven Mercury astronauts and the first American to orbit Earth, a successful businessman, a U.S. Senator, and, at the age of 77, the oldest human being in space.

Don Mitchell skillfully weaves highlights from John Glenn's extraordinary life with inspirational quotes and dynamic images to create an intimate portrait of a man whose challenge to young people everywhere is to become dedicated "to a purpose larger than themselves."

This superbly illustrated book follows the life trajectory of a very focused, highly competitive man, driven by a sense of duty to his country and an innate sense of obligation towards others. Readers will find themselves inspired to "liftoff" to new heights of achievement.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Karen Jensen
War hero, test pilot, first American in Earth orbit, U.S. Senator, and the oldest person in space-these are all titles that can be applied to John Glenn. Born John Herschel Glenn Jr. in 1921 in Cambridge, Ohio, Glenn is dedicated to public service, and there is now a Glenn Research Center out of Cleveland, Ohio, that is committed to education. In the foreword, Glenn writes, "It is my hope that reading this book will inspire you to want to help others by becoming actively involved in public service." This beautiful photobiography details Glenn's life in public service with a very pro-American outlook; for example, there is only a brief mention of the Challenger explosion that occurred during his term as Senator and no mention of its emotional impact on him as a former astronaut or the implications for the future of the space program. Black-and-white photographs with hues of blue show service metals, flights, crafts, and a beautiful view of a space sunset. This short, easy-to-read biography will be of interest to many young teen readers. Unfortunately its length will make it of little use to many biography assignments that have a higher page number requirement. The pictures, however, will be of great use to those needing illustrations for biographical sketches. It is recommended for younger teens and reluctant teen readers.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
I have been to the launch of the space shuttle. The incredible sound and shock wave of the rocket blasting off into space was awe inspiring. What then must it have been like to be the first American man to orbit the earth? For a young man born in the Midwest, a Marine Corps pilot and one of seven Mercury astronauts, it was just his way of serving his country, satisfying his passion to explore the unknown, and finding ways to make the world a better place. This biography is filled with pictures tracing the young boy's life, his love of flying, his belief in public service, his service in the Marines, his marriage, and his family. John was a fighter pilot in the Korean War who flew sixty-three missions and won numerous honors for his bravery. The text notes that he was a fierce competitor and highly-goal oriented. After the Russians launched Sputnik, John was determined to be a part of the U.S. space program. This was no easy accomplishment, but his skill and perseverance paid off. He knew the risks, but he was more than willing to make the sacrifice and take the risks, even when it appeared that his rocket's heat shield might not function properly on reentry and he would be fried to a crisp. The good news is that he did succeed. As a result, the U.S. space program prospered and finally did land a man on the moon. But that's not the end of his remarkable story. John Glenn was not content to just serve his country as a senator; he wanted to go back into space. At the age of seventy-seven, he wanted to prove that he was still physically and mentally able to fly a mission and that older Americans have plenty to offer their country. What is even more amazing is what had happened to the spaceprogram in the intervening thirty-six years. For those who take the whole field of space exploration for granted or those who want to be part of the next step in space, this story may be both informative and inspirational. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8
This profile of the pilot turned astronaut turned public servant is filled with personal reflections and details. A childhood encounter with a pilot who sold rides on a biplane and his father's own fascination with aviation set in motion a lifelong love of planes. Glenn's career in the military, piloting fighter planes in World War II and the Korean War, funneled him directly into test piloting and eventually the space program. It was there that he became the household name that he is today. The book's inviting format draws readers in and maintains the focus, making this a standout among biographies of Glenn, such as Michael D. Cole's John Glenn: Astronaut and Senator (Enslow, 2000). The writing is engaging and intimate, offering up the opportunity to really get to know the subject. The layout is varied without being busy. Small pictures, spreads, and large photos with captions all make this a visually attractive title. Report writers, browsers, and those with a specific interest in astronauts will all find something here to enjoy.
—Jody KoppleCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Written with the clearly stated intent of inspiring readers to enter public service, this profile presents Glenn's achievements, both on and off the planet, as the direct results of a lifelong commitment to larger causes. Opening with Glenn's small-town upbringing (amid "a wholesome mixture of patriotism and a strong sense of community"), and closing with his 2004 testimony against the proposed flag-desecration amendment, Mitchell follows his career from pilot to astronaut to politician back to 1998, at the age of 77, astronaut again. Free of any reference to the "Right Stuff," and so focused on the supposed scientific rationale of his return to space that its self-indulgent aspect goes likewise unmentioned, this cannot be characterized as an unbiased portrait. But Glenn's family is present enough here to give the Senator a bit of human dimension, and in the end, he is an authentic American hero, whose exploits require no exaggeration to impress. Illustrated with plenty of large black-and-white photos and punctuated with motivational quotes, this presents a simplified but appealing alternative to the plethora of existing assignment-fodder biographies. (multimedia resource list) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Product Details

National Geographic Society
Publication date:
Photobiographies Series
Product dimensions:
9.48(w) x 11.22(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Don Mitchell has worked as a public servant for more than 20 years in the federal government, serving in the U.S. Senate as well as in the White House on the staff of the National Security Council. He worked on national security issues for Senator John Glenn for 15 years. Don lives in Arlington, VA.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >