Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2009. 134 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: [Conflict] The problem is that the 13 women want to become astronauts but it was 1960 and women were not allowed to do anything but be a mother/housewife. [Rising Action] Jerri Codd started taking the tests that the Mercury 7 men took in order for them to go into space, seeing if she was capable to also go to space. [Climax] Codd excelled at the tests, making headway for all females and 12 other qualified females to try the test as well. However, NASA and the government decided that they didn’t want to send women to space. [Falling Action] Even though Codd and the rest of the women tried their hardest, they were unable to go into space. They worked different jobs, most involving flying aircrafts until they retired. [Resolution] The 13 women did get the motion started for years to come when women would be allowed to go into space, which is where the book ended on a happy note. Theme: The themes of this book included history, science, women, leaders, and fighting for what the characters believed in. Tone: The tone of this book was very serious. The female astronauts wanted to be able to go into space very much and they fought NASA, stereotypes, and the government. They were not giving up without trying every last method. Style: The authors writing style was very formal, giving facts, but doing it in a story type manner to ensnare the reader into the story. The author also used short, concise sentences rather than long sentences and paragraphs. Characterizations: This didn’t have one sole character, but it was about 13 females who all had one mindset in track: achievement, success, loyalty. They wanted to show America that with hard work and dedication that anyone can be an astronaut – even if they were female instead of male. Even though they weren’t able to make it into space, they still were able to achieve their goal when females were allowed to become astronauts years later. Readability: This novel was very, very easy to read. I finished it within a few hours and I think young readers will find it easy to read as well.
2. My reactions to the book. This book surprised me. Going in, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it since I don’t like Non-fiction – I was dead wrong. This story not only taught me history, but I enjoyed the story like writing about the 13 women in the 60s. I think that is this books best strength – the way it’s told. The reader gets entrapped by the story and wants to find out more. A weakness, even though there aren’t many, is the format of the book. It looks like a boring, educated book. I think the author could get more readers if the book looked more interesting on the outside, because the content on the inside is amazing. The content is very accurate to what had happened in the 60s with these 13 women.
3. Comment on the cover art. I think the cover art needs to be spiced up a little bit. As I said before, many won’t want to pick this up based off of the cover, which looks like the book will be boring and “educational” to the extent that the readers will want to stay away. If the book was smaller and had 1 image of the females, or something to attract attention, I think public would want to read it more.