Friday, July 20, 2018

Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon - a review

Countdown : 2979 Days to the Moon
By Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Peachtree Publishers

2,979 days after President Kennedy announced,

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth,"

this nation did just that. Not only did we achieve the goal, we did it all in the days before personal computers, cell phones, ATMs, and video games were invented. If you visit the historic Mission Control room in Johnson Space Center, you will be amazed at what was accomplished with the technology of the time.

In free verse poetry, Suzanne Slade recounts the extraordinary journey, both daring and dangerous, that culminated in the first humans to walk on the lunar surface.

"The men steal a last glance at their beautiful home,
then Borman begins the TLI countdown: "9,8,7,..."
With each passing second,
excitement builds at Mission Control.
No astronaut—American or Soviet—
has ridden a rocket beyond Earth orbit.
"3,2, light On. Ignition," Borman announces.
"Ignition," Lovell confirms.
The third-stage engine reignites,
sending the craft on its long trek to the Moon.

As Apollo 8 screams into space,
Borman, Lovell, and Anders
become the first humans
to fly above Earth orbit."
The text is presented against a backdrop of illustrations in pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush.  Gonzalez has created a delicate balance of realism and magic. The artwork is recognizable as images seen in news media of the era, and yet, it is elevated with a patina of enchantment. The resulting combination is stunning.

Between chapters, there are two pages detailing each Apollo mission, which include photos,  astronaut bios, and mission statistics, e.g., dates, duration.

Extensive back matter includes more information on Apollo 11, and Author's Note, Illustrator's Note, Selected Bibliography, Sources for Quotations, and Photo Credits.

As the nation contemplates manned missions to Mars, it is fitting to look back on the sacrifices and triumphs of an earlier space-traveling generation.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Free audiobooks from SYNC - time is running out

It's hard to believe that the summer is passing by so quickly!  Tomorrow will begin the final week of SYNC Audiobooks for Teens free summer audiobook program.  Today is your final day to get your copies of The Scarlet Letter and How to Hang a Witch. Get them today and check back at SYNC tomorrow for The Lost World and Monstrous Beauty. Hurry!

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik by David Arnold

 If you read or listen to only one YA fiction book this year, make it this winner of AudioFile Magazine's  Earphones Award, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik .

You can read my complete review on the AudioFile site. Without giving too much away, I can safely say that this one is definitely mind-blowing. Loveable, quirky Noah Oakman has a relatively good life with his parents, his little sister Penny, and his twin best friends, Val and Alan—until the night when everything (except his strange fascinations) changes. This first-person narrative will take you deep into the suddenly changed world of the kind and introspective Noah Oakman. Even strings of text messages between Noah, Val, and Alan crackle with emotion or humor. Every one of the lesser characters is a star in his own right. Stellar writing, stellar narration! I could listen to it again!

As a side note, many will appreciate Alan, not because he is a gay character, but because he is a fully-developed and integral member of the cast of characters who just happens to be gay, the perfect foil to his dry, iconoclastic sister Val.

Fans of Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King will likely love Noah Hypnotik.

Paramount Pictures is developing a movie version of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik (details here).  You simply must read it first!  I don't think a movie will do it justice (but I'd definitely go to see it).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What's a #kidlit "Easter egg?"

It's been a while since I've written for the ALSC Blog, but you can find me there today with a piece on *Easter eggs in #kidlit.

Hop on over 😉 and read it, please. []

And of course, Happy Independence Day!
Photo by Bryce Barker on Unsplash

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...