Astronauts : Women on the Final Frontier
by Ottaviani, Jim; Wicks, Maris (ART)

A nonfiction graphic novel collection of portraits celebrating the lives and achievements of history's female astronauts includes coverage of first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova, the mixed-race trailblazers of Group 9 and NASA's investigations into how to make space travel possible for everyone. Illustrations.

Jim Ottaviani began writing graphic novels about scientists in 1997. They include The Imitation Game, Primates, Feynman, and Hawking. His books are New York Times bestsellers, have been translated into over a dozen languages, and have received praise from publications ranging from Nature and Physics World to Entertainment Weekly and Variety.

Maris Wicks lives in sunny Somerville, Massachusetts. She is the author behind Human Body Theater, as well as the illustrator of New York Times-bestselling Primates, with Jim Ottaviani. When she's not making comics, Wicks works as a program educator at the New England Aquarium.

*Starred Review* Narrated in large part by Mary Cleave, who was among the second group of women admitted to NASA's astronaut training program, this in-depth and enlightening comic digs into not only the history of women in space but the rigors of the training process in general. There's a lot here, but Ottaviani and Wicks (Primates, 2013) handle it deftly, bringing humor and clarity to the density of the material. The sequence, for instance, in which Jerrie Cobb and Janey Hart testify in a congressional hearing about the importance of including women in the space program is cleverly intercut with scenes of Valentina Tereshkova preparing for her history-making spaceflight. Wicks makes great use of facial expressions-glib mockery from the U.S. senators, frustration on Cobb and Hart-to emphasize just what these women were up against. For all the trail-blazing, however, Ottaviani and Wicks emphasize above all else that the women in these programs are talented pilots and scientists, and they had essential work to do. Yes, some of that work was pushing back against sexist notions (jokes came in particularly handy here), but first, it was successfully operating a space shuttle. Gobs of humor, lively artwork, and tidy explanations of the science make this a standout among the vast field of books about the U.S. space program. Grades 7-10. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

[How women got mad, busy, and finally, reluctantly, accepted into NASA's corps of astronauts. Recast by the creators of Primates (2013) from NASA oral-history interviews with ex-astronaut Mary Cleave and other eyewitnesses, this likewise lightly fictionalized memoir takes its narrator from childhood interests in science and piloting aircraft to two space shuttle missions and then on to later educational and administrative roles. The core of the tale is a frank and funny account of how women shouldered their way into NASA's masculine culture and as astronaut trainees broke it down by demonstrating that they too had both the competencies and the toughness that added up to the right stuff. Highlighted by a vivid series of scenes showing Cleave with a monkey on her chest, then a chimpanzee, an orangutan, a gorilla, and finally a larger gorilla to symbolize the G-forces of liftoff, Wicks offers cleanly drawn depictions of technical gear, actual training exercises, eye-rolling encounters with sexist reporters and clueless NASA engineers, iconic figures (such as a group port rait of the watershed astronaut class of 1978: "Twenty-six white guys and nine...well...people who were not. Pretty diverse for NASA"), and astronauts at work on the ground and in space. They capture both the heady thrill of space travel and the achievements of those who led the way there. Exhilarating—as well as hilarious, enraging, or both at once depending on the reader. (afterword, print and web resources) (Informational graphic novel. 11-14) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2020 Follett School Solutions