Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blog Tour: The Spacesuit: How a seamstress helped put a man on the moon by Alison Donald, illustrated by Ariel Landy

Watching the first moon landing in 1969 unfolded before our eyes on TV, yet most people probably didn't  think much about all the behind the scenes work that went into making it a success. And one of the most important things was keeping the astronaut who would be first person to step foot on the moon safe.

And if you are going to take a walk on the moon, which has no gravity which means no breathable air, and has extremes of hot and cold temperatures, you want to make sure you have on a spacesuit that can successfully protect you. And for the July 20, 1969 moon walk, it turns out that the proper spacesuit was the work of a dedicated seamstress named Eleanor "Ellie" Foraker.

Ellie loved to sew when she was young, and as an adult, she sewed for a company called Playtex (yup, the bra people). One day, an engineer asked her if she would like to enter a competition to make spacesuits instead of underwear, spacesuits that could go to the moon and back.

Of course, Ellie jumped at the chance, and with the help of her fellow seamstresses at Playtex, they set out to create a winning spacesuit:
The challenge was how to make a soft, comfortable spacesuit? 21 layers of fabric held together with stitches only 1/64th of an inch long and without the benefit of pins to hold it all together is how. A pin hole, after all, could leave an astronaut vulnerable to the moon's poisonous gases. But when the judges received their spacesuit, a zipper was broken. Luckily, the spacesuit was fixed in time.
And yes, Ellie and her team of seamstresses won the competition. Now, when you see pictures of the Apollo 11 astronauts, and there will be lots of them this week, think of Ellie and her team and the hard work that helped make the moon landing possible. Who knew sewing could be so exciting?

The Spacesuit offers young readers an accessible, friendly, and interesting look at one of the things that happens behind the headlines of a historical event, and also manages to put a woman in the spotlight for a change. The simple text and cartoon-like illustrations are clear and straightforward. All the steps that were taken to create the winning spacesuit are nicely detailed from idea to finished suit. Ellie and her team may have had a real advantage because they probably understood the properties of latex better than most after having sewn all that latex underwear for Playtex:
Back Endpaper
The Spacesuit is a great book with lots of interesting facts to be found scattered within the story, as well as the front and back endpapers. There is also a timeline of space travel from its beginning right up to the moon walk, and a glossary of terms used at the end of the book.

The Spacesuit is an inspiring book for young readers which adds to the body of literature about the Apollo 11 moon walk as well as adding to the history of women.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was provided to me by Myrick Marketing & Media

Meet the creators of The Spacesuit:
About Alison Donald: Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Alison Donald now lives in Farnham with her British husband and 3 young children.  She works as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and has over 10 years of experience helping children with special needs reach their potential. Her debut picture book, The New Libearian was previously published in the U.S. by Clarion Books.

About Ariel Landy: Ariel Landy is an illustrator and educator from New York City. Ariel began writing and illustrating stories as soon as she could hold a pencil and she never stopped. She currently lives in Harlem with her boyfriend and their dog, Sid.

Sunday June 14th: Unleashing Readers
Monday June 15th: Publisher Spotlight Blog
Tuesday June 16th: YA Books Central
Wednesday June 17th: Randomly Reading 

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