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My kids have always been fascinated by space. Shortly after we moved to Houston we visited Space Center Houston. My daughter was a one year old at the time, and we all touched a moon rock in one of the exhibits and then we talked about it so much that day that “moon rock” became one of her first words and the favorite word in her vocabulary for about a month.
My kids love looking up at the moon and stars at night, and we often search for planets that are visible. We’ve watched the International Space Station fly over our house several times, and it never fails to amaze us all that there are astronauts inside flying high above the Earth.
Some of my son’s favorite gifts have been spaced themed, like a projector that puts stars and planets on his ceiling, or a space shuttle Lego set. My daughter has several beautiful space dresses, that she proudly wears to preschool. I read my kids books about space and astronauts as often as possible and we have a wide range from baby board books to an encyclopedia about Space.
So when Sleeping Bear Press gifted us a copy of the new book Letters From Space written by retired Astronaut Clayton Anderson and illustrated by Susan Batori, I immediately knew that this book would become a new family favorite. We learn something new and find something silly to giggle about each time we read this book.
In Letters From Space kids get to read letters from Astronaut Clayton Anderson during his five month long mission in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Clayton writes letters to his family, friends, and young fans about his experiences. They are filled with fascinating facts about life aboard the ISS, and of course lots of humor!
The illustrations by Susan Batori bring to life much of the silliness throughout the book. Life as an astronaut seems so exciting, but we learn in this book that living on the ISS is not as glamorous as we might think…we learn they have to wear their underwear for 4 days straight, their food looks and smells similar to cat food, and their head swells like a bobble head for the first few days.
MY BOOK REVIEW:
My kids and I learned so much about life in the ISS while reading this book. It was packed full of facts and information about astronaut life, but it was written as a silly letters. My kids loved learning that a few animals like mice, spiders, minnows, and butterflies have been in space. They laughed about Clayton’s missing favorite red marker that kept floating away and getting stuck in air vents.
I liked learning how astronauts take pictures of the earth from space to help scientist on earth monitor ocean health, soil erosion, deforestation, and city growth. They use the photos to compare changes over time and work towards solving problems. I also thought it was interesting to learn that scientists are observing everything about the astronauts, even monitoring every food they put in their mouth. Being an avid gardener myself, I was excited to learn they do gardening on the ISS.
My kids and I giggled so hard when we read how Clayton accidentally sent pudding flying across the module straight to his commander’s face, and his commander just opened his mouth and ate it!
STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:
- Science: This book gives lots of details on how astronauts live onboard the ISS. We learned about some of the experiments they perform on the space station and how they collect data to help scientists on earth.
- Engineering: We learned how astronauts perform engineering feats like space walks to make repairs to the space station and operating the station and space shuttles themselves.
Letters From Space was a joy for us to read. We learned, we laughed, we were entertained, and informed. The pictures add to the silliness and perfectly compliment the story. My kids and I really enjoy this book and I am sure we’ll continue to read it for years to come.