School Library Journal Starred Review: Letters from Space
Letters from Space, Written by Clayton Anderson & Illustrated by Susan Batori
The author draws from his personal experience in this humorous look at the practical considerations of space flight, using a series of letters with family and friends to relate activities in a timeline for his five months aboard the International Space Station. The nonsense begins in the digitally painted cartoon illustrations on the title page as an alien gathers the mail. The rocket launches and glasses, socks, and part of lunch float effortlessly by while Astronaut Anderson, who is white with a pink nose, calmly and factually explains why fluid rushing to his head makes him look like a bobblehead during weightlessness. Each page highlights a letter—the astronaut, whose commander is Black, begins a dialogue with Mission Control on the topic of how long to wear underwear, answers the question of whether pets belong in space, projects targets for “Crew Earth Observations” photography, and chats easily about his seven hours of a working spacewalk and how it felt afterward. He also discusses spacesuits, weightless mistakes, lunchtime in space, the mysterious loss of his special red marker, how it feels to fly like Superman, growing plants in space, and feeling ready to return home. VERDICT: With a final page of facts about NASA, astronauts, and living in space, this must-purchase entertains with a combination of zany art, humor, and solid facts for fascinated young readers craving space travel—even the armchair kind.
–Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano I.S.D., TX