Letters from Space by Clayton Anderson, illustrated by Susan Batori

Published by Sleeping Bear Press

Letters from Space: Anderson, Clayton, Batori, Susan: 9781534110748:  Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Former astronaut Clayton Anderson drew on his experience living aboard the International Space Station to create these fictional letters about life in space.  From Day 1 (“Dear Mom, I did it I made it into outer space! LAUNCH WAS SO COOL!”) to Day 152 (“Dear Mission Control: I’m home–safely back on Earth. And boy, am I glad about that!”), his letters brim with enthusiasm for sharing his experiences and scientific information about space.  The science is very kid-friendly, describing why the crews’ heads look bigger when the first few days of a mission, animals who have traveled into space, and how astronauts take pictures. Living in a weightless environment, conducting experiments, and going for a space walk are all explained with an air of excitement, and a P.S. from the astronaut at the end gives a bit more information about each topic.  32 pages; grades K-3.

Pros:  Anderson’s enthusiasm is infectious, and is sure to lead some readers to consider a career in space.  The letters format is engaging, and could serve as a writing prompt.  Batori’s humorous cartoon-inspired illustrations add to the fun.

Cons:  I wished the letters had clarified who each recipient was.  Some (Mom, Brother, Mission Control) are obvious, while others (Cole, Sofia, Ana) are more ambiguous.

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