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Almost Astronauts

Almost Astronauts

13 Women Who Dared to Dream


Almost Astronauts

About the Book

They had the right stuff. They defied the prejudices of the time. And they blazed a trail for generations of women to follow.

What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules. Almost Astronauts is the story of thirteen true pioneers of the space age. Back matter includes an author’s note, an appendix, further reading, a bibliography, sources, source notes, and an index.

Product Details

On sale: February 24, 2009
Age: 10 and up
Grade: Grade 5 & Up
Page count: 144 Pages
ISBN: 9780763636111
Reading level: Lexile: 980L | Fountas/Pinnell: Y

Author Bio

Tanya Lee Stone is a former editor and award-winning author who often writes about strong women. She has garnered starred reviews and other accolades for books such as Up Close: Ella Fitzgerald and the highly popular Amelia Earhart. She lives in Vermont. Attending Texas Book Festival in November 08.


Stone's carefully researched book makes the point that in the 1950s and '60s there were '13 women who... had the Right Stuff' - but were the wrong sex at the wrong time.
—New York Times Book Review

This passionately written account of a classic but little-known challenge to established gender prejudices also introduces readers to a select group of courageous, independent women.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Fascinating, dramatic story…The author offers great insight into how deeply ingrained sexism was in merican society and its institutions. Handsomely illustrated with photographs, this empowering, impassioned story will leave readers inspired.
—Kirkus (starred review)

Stone presents the full story of early-sixties public discourse about women’s capabilities and clearly shows the personal, political, and physical risks taken by the women in pursuit of their dream.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

The chatty, immediate style (“Picture this”) and full-page photos make for a fast read, and the crucial civil-rights history will stay with readers.

An inspiring if heartbreaking true story of grit, persistence, and determination.
—ForeWord magazine