Continuing my recommendations for Women’s History Month, Astronaut Annie, while fiction is inspired by the many women who have played important roles in space exploration and mission. See #KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality.
Title: Astronaut Annie
Written by: Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by: Nicole Tadgell
Publisher: Tilbury House, 2018
Themes: young women, world-changers, perseverance, astronauts, female astronauts, space exploration, courage, careers for women/girls, dreaming big
On Monday Annie ran all the way to her grandparents’ house after school— without stopping!
She couldn’t wait to tell them the news.
“What’s new, Annie?” Grandpop called from the porch.
Career Day is approaching, and Annie can’t wait to show her family what she’s planning to be when she grows up. But, she must keep it a secret until Friday! curious family members each ask Annie for a clue. Convinced that she’ll be a news reporter like he once was, Grandpop gives her his old camera and notebook to use for her presentation. Grandma is sure Annie wants to be a champion baker like her, so she offers a mixing bowl and oven mitts to Annie. Hopeful she’ll become the mountain climber he aspired to be, Dad gives Annie an old backpack. Mom presents Annie with a pair of high-top sneakers to pursue Mom’s favorite sport in high school — basketball.
Grateful for each gift, Annie cleverly finds a way to use them all to create her Career Day costume. When the big day arrives, Annie finally reveals her out-of-this-world dream to everyone.
Why I like this book:
While this picture book is much wordier than typical at the moment, the text warrants its length in my opinion. Until the grand finale, it is a series of dialogues between Annie and various adults in her family, who in typical adult-centric fashion imagine that Annie’s career ambitions may well have been inspired by their own dreams and achievements. In a kind of fun reverse role, Annie manages to support their passions and be grateful for their inspiration while all the while pursuing her own big dream. While the reader knows Annie’s career hopes from the title, the tensions is maintained by the family not knowing until the final pages.
The illustrations are energetic and warm and filled with smiling faces. It is a definitely a feel-good story.
Representation matters. Little girls need to see stories of girls that look like them surrounded by adults who believe they can achieve anything they want to? It has a strong message about brave girls reaching for the stars with their dreams (pun intended!) and is a good STEM addition to school and public library shelves.
The back matter features photos and brief descriptions of four famous women with space careers, and it an obvious addition to any unit on space and space exploration.
Don’t miss the interview I did with the illustrator and find out her favorite spread in Astronaut Annie.
Our Universe for Kids has some great astronaut facts.
A Mighty Girl also has a list of suggested reading about female astronauts and more information for girls who want to make this their career.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.