Women in Space: 23 Stories of First Flights, Scientific Missions, and Gravity-Breaking Adventures

Overview

When Valentina Tereshkova blasted off aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, she became the first woman to rocket into space. It would be 19 years before another woman got a chance—cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982—followed by American astronaut Sally Ride a year later. By breaking the stratospheric ceiling, these women forged a path for many female astronauts, cosmonauts, and mission specialists to follow.

            Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, ...

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Overview

When Valentina Tereshkova blasted off aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, she became the first woman to rocket into space. It would be 19 years before another woman got a chance—cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982—followed by American astronaut Sally Ride a year later. By breaking the stratospheric ceiling, these women forged a path for many female astronauts, cosmonauts, and mission specialists to follow.

            Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station; and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; as well as astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, France, and more. Readers will also learn about the Mercury 13, American women selected by NASA in the late 1950s to train for spaceflight. Though they matched and sometimes surpassed their male counterparts in performance, they were ultimately denied the opportunity to head out to the launching pad. Their story, and the stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who followed them, demonstrate the vital role women have played in the quest for scientific understanding.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/18/2013
In this addition to the Women of Action series, Gibson (Women Aviators) chronicles the long, challenging journeys undertaken by women from around the world as they worked to become astronauts. While several women—such as the “Mercury 13”—underwent rigorous training and were qualified to travel to space, they were often overlooked in favor of their male counterparts; Mercury 13 member Jerrie Cobb once stated that Vice-President Johnson had told her, “Jerrie, if we let you or other women into the space program, we have to let blacks in, we’d have to let Mexican-Americans in, we have to let every minority in and we just can’t do it.” The 23 individuals profiled include Judith Resnik, mission specialist onboard the Challenger; Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel to outer space; Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; and Yi Soyeon, the first South Korean in space, female or male. Photographs, personal stories, and details about the physical and emotional hurdles required to becoming an astronaut create an informative and hopeful overview of underrecognized scientists and explorers in a male-dominated field. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
From the Publisher

“An informative and hopeful overview of underrecognized scientists and explorers in a male-dominated field.” —Publishers Weekly

“Valuable… an informative introductory overview of the many important contributions women have made to space exploration.” —Kirkus Reviews

"An important addition to women’s-history collections." —School Library Journal

"[Gibson] incorporates thorough research and a strong feminist message into her accounts...This illuminating gathering of role models is also bolstered with sheaves of source notes and useful references to further resources." —Booklist

"With a plethora of information, Women in Space will be an asset to any library and will be useful for those choosing to learn about unsung heroes by combining both biographical and historical information in one handy volume." —VOYA

"Very highly recommended reading and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections." —The Midwest Book Review

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Charla Hollingsworth
A part of the Women in Action series, Women In Space profiles twenty-three female pioneers who fought against the male establishment and made space dreams a reality for all. With profiles of women from ten different countries, the title helps readers learn about American astronauts, Russian cosmonauts, and space explorers from South Korea, France, Great Britian, Iran, and other countries. The first section of the book profiles the American women who were originally selected for the Mercury 13 mission but were then passed over in favor of their male counterparts even though they were equally qualified. The second and third sections tackle more widely known female American astronauts, from Sally Ride to Mae Jemison, and Russian cosmonauts, from Valentina Tereshkova to Yelena Serova. The final section of the book profiles many lesser-known space pioneers from around the globe. In addition to the biographical pieces, Women In Space is full of nonbiographical, space-related sidebars, such as careers in space, how to eat and live in space, the history of the Russian space program, the International Space Station, and plans for future space endeavors. With a plethora of information, Women In Space will be an asset to any library and will be useful for those choosing to learn about unsung heroes by combining both biographical and historical information in one handy volume. Reviewer: Charla Hollingsworth; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 7–10—In the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the first woman in space was the Soviet, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963. America's first female astronaut, Sally Ride, went into space in 1983. This book details the stories of 19 others from across the globe who overcame obstacles of prejudice to fly in space. They include four Soviet women, Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar, Japanese doctor Chiaki Mukai, French astronaut Claude Andre-Deshays Haignere, and Yi Soyeon, the first Korean in space. The story of the Mercury 13 is fascinating; 15 women were selected by NASA in the late 1950s. Successful pilots and scientists, they trained, as did the (male) crew of the Mercury 7, but then were not allowed to travel. Each chapter contains photographs and "Learn More" suggested readings. Sidebars are scattered throughout the book. This volume is a companion to the author's Women Aviators (Chicago Review, 2013) and an important addition to women's-history collections.—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-11
The history of women in space is chronicled through profiles of 23 astronauts from 10 countries whose careers span a half century. Dividing her account into four parts, Gibson begins with the story of the Mercury 13, women aviators who proved to be as intelligent and fit as any man but who were nonetheless barred from NASA's astronaut program because of their gender. (Their story is told more compellingly and in greater depth in Tanya Lee Stone's Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, 2009.) The second part is devoted to Soviet and Russian cosmonauts, beginning with Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. The third and largest part of the book chronologically profiles American women astronauts beginning with Sally Ride and includes Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, and Peggy Whitson, who logged over a year in orbit while aboard the International Space Station. The last part profiles international astronauts from Canada, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea. Sidebars supply factual information on such topics as training, experiments, sleeping and eating in space, and the physical and psychological effects of space travel. This workmanlike book is most valuable for the profiles on cosmonauts and international women astronauts, subjects that have received scant attention. An informative introductory overview of the many important contributions women have made to space exploration. (source notes, glossary, further reading, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613748442
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2014
  • Series: Women of Action Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 467,037
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Bush Gibson is the author of three dozen books for young readers, including Women Aviators and Native American History for Kids.
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