Monday, April 20, 2009
Another Book I Could Read a Million Times
I have found one more book that I think I could read a million times. If you haven't read One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh, I would highly recommend it. This book just came out and is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of our first trip to the moon. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldridge were the first to step on the moon. This book tells about the trip from the time the Eagle took off to the time the astronauts landed. The book captures the power of the trip and the emotions of the astronauts well.
Mike Wimmer's illustrations are amazing. Most are dark as the moon would have looked when they landed. The details show so many things about the trip and the feel of the illustrations matches the feel of the world when the astronauts stepped out on the moon.
The language in the book is one that makes it a perfect read aloud. Yesterday, I read it to 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes and they were glued. Not much of a sound from any group that I read it to. And kids this age take space travel for granted. But somehow the author and illustrator helped them relive the excitement of the moment in this book.
Following the read aloud, many of the kids found the original film of the moon landing on the internet. They watched and were excited to see what they had just read about and to hear Neil Armstrong's actual voice saying, "One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind." (On a side note, kids had heard spinoffs of this famous quote on Spongebob and other shows and had no idea what the origin of the quote was...) Within minutes they found information on Neil Armstrong, clips of the trip, information on more recent space travel news.
It isn't often that a nonfiction picture book can capture history so clearly and so powerfully. Often, I read aloud a picture book and kids learn but this one actually allows the children who take space travel for granted, to feel the excitement and thrill of the day. For the astronauts who lived it and for the world who watched.