Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Overview

Here is a rare perspective on a story we only thought we knew. For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians,...

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Overview

Here is a rare perspective on a story we only thought we knew. For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators.

Gathering direct quotes from some of these folks who worked behind the scenes, Catherine Thimmesh reveals their very human worries and concerns. Culling NASA transcripts, national archives, and stunning NASA photos from Apollo 11, she captures not only the sheer magnitude of this feat but also the dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance of the greatest team ever—the team that worked to first put man on that great gray rock in the sky.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This behind-the-scenes look at the first Apollo moon landing has the feel of a public television documentary in its breadth and detail.The book opens with several photographs of people huddled around TVs to view the event (one shows Italians watching a small set at an outdoor cafe). The author then delves into the back story of the organizations and hundreds of thousands of people who made the 1969 mission possible. Readers meet 24-year-old "computer whiz kid Jack Garman," who helped work through worrisome computer glitches during the Eagle's landing, as well as one of the seamstresses who sewed the spacesuits ("We didn't worry too much until the guys on the moon started jumping up and down. And that gave us a little bit of an eyebrow twitch"). The 16 chapter-like segments flow chronologically, from John F. Kennedy's 1961 speech to Apollo 11's splashdown. Thimmesh (Madame President) peppers her lengthy, fact-filled narrative with folksy adages (e.g., "Here they were, less than 500 feet from the moon, and just about plumb out of fuel"). The colloquialisms sometime seem at odds with the myriad of engineering acronyms and jargon. But the author maintains a conversational tone, and tackles and explains tough topics such as "cluster interference" in parachute deployment and a bit of the chemistry behind developing the astronauts' dramatic photographs, many of which illustrate the story. Even if the jargon gives readers pause, the little-known facts will keep their interest level high. Ages 9-up. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Many years ago, I worked on the unmanned space program at NASA Goddard. It was an amazing experience and even more exhilarating was the opportunity to actually go to a shuttle launch in Florida. It was with great interest that I read this new book Team Moon, which gives an incredible behind-the-scenes look at the work and the number of people involved in getting the first men on the moon. The book is filled with wonderful details that range from making spacesuits to building the lunar module, but not really in a scientific way—more as a conversation. Even though we know the outcome of the Apollo 11 mission, there is quite a bit of suspense as we experience all of the trials and tribulations faced by both the astronauts and the people at ground control. For those of us who watched it on television, there were not quite the same heart-stopping moments—we did not really know that a frozen slug was causing the fuel in the moon lander to heat up to the point where it could become unstable. However, we did share in the joy of Neil Armstrong putting his foot down on the moon. We saw it live and the black-and-white and color photographs that fill the pages of this book further document this historic event. Today's kids will gain some understanding of the effort it took to put that first man on the moon, and they will have a better appreciation for the incredible challenge that everyone involved in this space program faced in those early years. The author's note is particularly interesting because she just selected a handful of some of the people who were involved in the Apollo 11 mission. They range from those who were in executive control positions, to those who sewed andtested the spacesuits, to others around the world who manned antenna outposts to pick up signals from the spacecraft. For those who really want to know more, there is an excellent list of sources, chapter notes, and a list of places. mainly web sites. where one can find additional information. In addition, there is a fairly extensive index and glossary. All in all, Thimmesh's book is an excellent choice for anyone interested in the story of America's effort to put a man on the moon.
VOYA - Victoria Vogel
Those adults old enough to remember the spell that was cast over America when Apollo 11 landed on the moon will understand the importance of this historic event. Thimmesh provides a colorful and impacting overview. The narrative revolves around the contribution of all those invested and involved in the mission. Whether it was the emotion and interest of the spectators or the dedication and involvement of those behind the scenes, Thimmesh recounts the importance of everyone's connection to the accomplishment of landing on the moon. Black-and-white photographs lend authenticity to the narrative. The text contains several quotes from the astronauts and from many others involved with the mission. She addresses the challenges of the mission specifically and provides interesting details about the obstacles that led up to those first steps. The book ends with several interesting bits, such as photographs of some of the people from whom quotes were taken, and a list of the quotes and their sources. Additional sources consulted and a list of additional reading round out the text. This book will be a useful and interesting overview of the Apollo 11 mission for reluctant readers. Public and school libraries will find it a helpful addition to their nonfiction collection. The photographs and easy-to-read format make it suitable for browsing. Teens interested in space exploration will love this overview and want to read more.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In infectiously hyperbolic prose that's liberally interspersed with quotes and accompanied by sheaves of period photos, Thimmesh retraces the course of the space mission that landed "an actual man, on the actual Moon." It's an oft-told tale, but the author tells it from the point of view not of astronauts or general observers, but of some of the 17,000 behind-the-scenes workers at Kennedy Space Center, the 7500 Grumman employees who built the lunar module, the 500 designers and seamstresses who actually constructed the space suits, and other low-profile contributors who made the historic flight possible. Despite occasional contrast issues when the white-on-black text is printed over blown-up photographs, this dramatic account will mesmerize even readers already familiar with the event-and also leave them awed by the level of care and dedication it took to surmount so many daunting technological challenges. Drawn from personal interviews and oral histories as well as a wide array of published sources, this stirring, authoritative tribute to the collective effort that left "...footprints, crisp and clear, pressed purposefully and magnificently into the lunar dust" belongs in every collection.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"For me, that was the time in history and the event to participate in above all others." That comment, from one of the 400,000 involved in the team effort to put men on the moon in 1969, sums up the essence of this dramatic account of the work of people behind the scenes in the Apollo program. Illustrated with striking black-and-white photos, the white text on a black background of each page underscores the risk of this venture into the unknown. Beginning with Nixon's just-in-case prepared announcement of the astronaut's "sacrifice," the author presents the expedition as a series of challenges, including surprising details. Not all the challenges were directly related to the voyage: a windstorm in Australia threatened television transmission; photographs had to be perfect and the film disinfected (of nonexistent bacteria) before it was developed. The authors emphasizes the paper-and-pencil calculations, the endless testing and checking, and elaborate recordkeeping that supported this work, and the sense of personal responsibility each participant felt. This beautiful and well-documented tribute will introduce a new generation to that triumphant time. (author's note, resources, bibliography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 10+)
From the Publisher
Winner of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

• "This behind-the-scenes look at the first Apollo moon landing has the feel of a public television documentary in its breadth and detail." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

• "This beautiful and well-documented tribute will introduce a new generation to that triumphant time."  —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This dramatic account will mesmerize even readers already familiar with the event–and also leave them awed by the level of care and dedication it took to surmount so many daunting technological challenges."  —School Library Journal

"Thimmesh gives names and voices to the army that got Neil Armstrong and company to the moon and back. The result is a spectacular and highly original addition to the literature of space exploration."  —Horn Book

"Catherine Thimmesh tells us the stories of the 400,000 people it took to make...that 'one giant leap'...Their collective devotion to an exciting goal comes across strongly."  —Chicago Tribune

• "Kids...probably feel they know quite a bit about the first manned moon landing. But until they've read Thimmesh's breathless behind-the-scenes account, they know zip."  —Bulletin, starred review

"An edge-of-your-seat adventure...lavishly illustrated...this exhilarating book...will captivate."  —Chicago Sun-Times

"Thimmesh's enthusiasm for her subject is palpable, and the sense of excitement she brings is as vital to Team Moon's success the book's very premise."  —Chris Barton, author of Shark vs. Train

An NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544582392
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2015
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Catherine Thimmesh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including Team Moon, winner of the Sibert Medal. Her books have received numerous starred reviews, appeared on best books lists, and won many awards, including the IRA Children's Book Award and Minnesota Book Award. She lives in Minnesota with her family. Visit her website at www.catherinethimmesh.com .

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