Friday, 19 July 2019

ReadItDaddy's Spacetastic Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 19th July 2019: "Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story" by Michael Collins (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Our Chapter Book of the Week comes from one of the very men who was part of the monumentous Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago.

Michael Collins had a reputation for being the "Arty" astronaut (after all, he designed the mission patch for the Apollo 11 mission) and it comes across here in the fantastic revised edition of "Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story".

Collins is one of my heroes. Armstrong and Aldrin might have come away from the mission as the men who walked on the moon, but Collins' role in that mission cannot be understated, and here he describes his life and the run up to his selection for the NASA Astronaut programme with humility and character. In fact his introduction in this very book might have you shedding a few tears, as he describes how he's too old to go to Mars - but dang, if it wasn't for his age he would've put himself forward, I bet.

As child-friendly biographies go, again this is a departure from the stuff we've seen recently - where well-meaning folk have given heavily abridged versions of a particular famous person's life story, almost as if kids can't deal with the complexities of reading about an adult and need that information watering down.

Here, in Collins' own words, is his story. Delivered to kids not in patronising tones, but treating them as his equal, and urging them onwards in their own efforts, perhaps even their own attempts to become astronauts or involved with the space programme themselves.

This is superb, atmospheric, and even if you think you know a ton about that amazing mission, it's absolutely brilliant to read it from one of the guys who went aboard that towering and gigantic rocket with one aim in mind, to make sure his mission colleagues made it safely there and back.

Sum this book up a sentence: A thoroughly absorbing and gripping read about one of the unsung heroes of the Apollo 11 Mission, the guy who stayed behind while Armstrong and Aldrin went to the moon - but every bit as scintillating as their own biogs.

"Flying to the Moon: An Astronauts Story" by Michael Collins is out now, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Self purchased, not supplied for review)