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Reaching for the Moon

Reaching for the Moon

5.0 3
by Buzz Aldrin, Wendell Minor (Illustrator)

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This is my journey.

It didn’t begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. It began the day I was born -- Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., whom everyone called Buzz. Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible -- from riding a bike alone across the


This is my journey.

It didn’t begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. It began the day I was born -- Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., whom everyone called Buzz. Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible -- from riding a bike alone across the George Washington Bridge at age ten to making a footprint on the Moon.

I always knew the Moon was within my reach -- and that I was ready to be part of the team that would achieve the first landing. But it was still hard to believe when I took my first step onto the Moon’s surface. We all have our own dreams -- this is the story of how mine came true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aldrin and illustrator Minor (one of six American artists selected to cover the launch of the space shuttle Discovery in 1988) bring the astronaut's early life and commendable career into stunningly sharp focus. Aldrin shapes nearly each page into a kind of brief chapter, instantly pulling readers into his easygoing, articulate narrative. For instance, he recalls how, on summer nights during his childhood, "the Moon hung low in the sky, so close to our house that I thought I could reach out and touch the soft white light. I never imagined that one day I would walk on its surface. But maybe it was meant to be. You see, before she was married, my mother's last name was Moon." In another neat coincidence, Aldrin's pilot father took the two-year-old on his first flight in a plane painted to look like an eagle; and, in a craft named Eagle, Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. After recapping earlier events in his life, the author recaptures the thrill of the Eagle's landing and his and Armstrong's exploration of the moon. Aldrin closes with a stirring afterword encouraging readers to reach for their own moons: "If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed was possible." Minor's light-infused art balances lifelike, affecting portraiture and images of various spacecraft in motion, rendered with an almost dizzying clarity. Author and artist clearly aimed high here and easily hit their mark. Ages 6-9. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Buzz Aldrin reflects on the coincidences and recollections that transpired in his boyhood that influenced his aspirations for a future career as a pilot and astronaut. Moon was his mother's maiden name. At the age of two he and his father soared in an airplane painted to look like an eagle. He almost drowned trying to preserve a bucket of rocks for his collection. As a ten-year-old he biked twenty miles alone across the George Washington Bridge. It took all day and instilled valuable qualities of determination, strength, and independence. Setting goals and working to achieve them in spite of the challenges is the theme of this title that also details—in an easy-to-read fashion—the personal experiences of preparing for the space program with an emphasis on Apollo 11 and making footprints on the moon. Throughout the first person narration, one finds direction and encouragement for youngsters. The two-page presentations read like mini-chapters as Aldrin takes steps toward "reaching for the moon" and accomplishes the dream. One full page (and sometimes more) is dedicated to stunning, realistic paintings that convey the text's message. An afterword continues Aldrin's model of advocacy for establishing goals. A chronology celebrating a century of flight and space explorations appears at the back of the book. Readers will want to check out this title with its easy reading style, beautiful pictures, and valuable message. 2005, HarperCollins, and Ages 6 to 10.
—Barbara Troisi
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Astronaut Buzz Aldrin narrates this fascinating autobiography (HarperCollins, 2005) that provides information about his childhood, his education, and his first steps on the moon. He also includes an account of how he got the name Buzz, his time at West Point, and his perseverance in becoming an astronaut. He provides details about his unique preparation for going into space, his first spaceflight on Gemini 12, and the moon landing with Neil Armstong. Beautiful realistic illustrations by Wendell Minor give listeners the feeling that they are right there flying a plane or floating in space. Aldrin's pacing and inflection draws listeners in, adding to the immediacy of Minor's illustrations. Occasional, subtle sound effects and background instrumentation add to the richness of the story. This read-along set will work well in a classroom setting for units on space or biographies. A necessary addition to all collections serving elementary grade students.-Veronica Schwartz, Des Plaines Public Library, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In first-person voice, Aldrin highlights points from his childhood that led to his dream of being an astronaut and making the historic moon landing. Coincidental details like his mother's maiden name, "Moon," and his favorite movie hero, the "Lone Ranger," suggest clues to his destiny. After West Point, he joined the Air Force because "he wanted to fly more than anything." Minor's usual beautiful and realistic illustrations effectively convey spatial perspectives and movement, adding depth to the narrative. However, the cover design and type layout are confusing, indicative of a biography instead of an autobiography-a brief intro could have clarified it. Aldrin's message in an author's note avows, "If you set your sights high, you may accomplish more than you ever dreamed." Pair this with Don Brown's One Giant Step for a child's-eye view on space exploration. (Flight/space exploration chronology) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
Child Magazine
“Calling all dreamers and wannabe space travellers!”
Time for Kids
“A Buzz-worthy book!”
ALA Booklist
“Precisely rendered illustrations help this effort really take off . . . a brief chronology rounds out this solid title.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

On July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moon walk and became the first two humans to set foot on another world. This unprecedented heroic endeavor was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. Upon returning from the moon, Dr. Aldrin embarked on an international goodwill tour and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among more than fifty distinguished awards and medals from numerous countries. Since retiring from NASA, the Air Force, and his position as commander of the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base, Dr. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration and has advanced his lifelong commitment to humans venturing outward in space. Recently he founded a rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters, Inc., and the ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to pursuing space tourism. In addition to writing books that describe his unique perspective on America's space program, Dr. Aldrin also lectures and travels throughout the world to discuss his and others’ ideas for exploring the universe.

For more information about the Apollo 11 moon landing please visit www.nasa.gov or The Johnson Space Center at www.jsc.nasa.gov and for more information about the illustrations in this book please visit www.minorart.com.

Wendell Minor has illustrated numerous award-winning picture books, including Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, Galapagos George by Jean Craighead George, and If You Were a Panda Bear by his wife, Florence Minor. Mr. Minor's art has been exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum, among other prestigious institutions throughout the country. He lives in rural Connecticut with Florence and their two cats.

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Reaching For The Moon 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Reaching For The Moon" reaches out to the young and old in a manner that describes the total honesty and integrity of Buzz Aldrin and gives each of Us a glimpse at the life of an astronaut in a way I have never before seen. This book delves into the most private corners of a persons life and shares a story that impacts everyone that reads. Many people would have ommited the most dark secrets, yet, Buzz Aldrin tell a true story and in doing so, it may help others see a problem that exists in their life. This book will give young readers the desire to in some way pave the road to new missions to the moon and far beyond. I have seen a new side of Buzz Aldrin; a side I like. This is a True Man!