Former astronaut Clayton Anderson is not a stranger to my blog. I reviewed his previous book A is for Astronaut (also from Sleeping Bear Press). Letters from Space is just as informative and engaging. As you'll see in the samples below, the illustrations by Susan Batori are full of humor. Kids will laugh out loud as they learn about disposable underwear; food, spiders, and plants in space; and how astronauts fly EVERYWHERE within the space shuttle.
All of this is communicated through fictional letters "home" to friends, young fans, and family. Because of course, no one has perfected receiving mail from space... yet!
Flight Day 3
In a letter to his mother, Clayton describes his excitement at liftoff.
It was loud, it was scary, and the entire space shuttle shook like crazy...We went faster and faster, and then--everything went quiet. I started to rise out of my seat. I was weightless!
Flight Day 22
Flight Day 125
Flight Day 134
Flight Day 148
Clayton is coming home and he's so excited that he's doing flips in space! He writes to his mother, The time has flown by up here (ha ha) and life in weightlessness has been really fun.
The book ends with two pages of facts about growing food in space, training to be an astronaut (in a pool!), gravity, teamwork, and lots of other things you didn't know.
A STEAM book, this will be a great addition to the K-3rd grade curriculum. Not only will children learn science facts, but as Astronaut Anderson says, "Kids LOVE THE LETTER FORMAT. It encourages reading AND writing."
By the way, most of the names used in the letters are real people in Clayton's life. It was his way of paying tribute to his teachers, college professors, childhood friends, mission control, and his family.