Book Review: Liftoff

Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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John Glenn is certainly an icon of American history. Most Americans know that he was an astronaut and then a Senator. That's usually where the knowledge stops.

This book, Liftoff: a Photobiography of John Glenn, fills in the gaps for readers very nicely, with tons of (sometimes rare) photos of Glenn's long and eventful life. Among the many highlights are these:

  • a ride in an airplane when he was 8, firing his imagination and cementing in his mind the idea that he had to be a pilot
  • his wartime (WWII and Korean) sorties, in which his planes were hit by enemy fire multiple times
  • the Mercury Seven, the first Americans in space
  • and, of course, Glenn's most famous moments, his first-ever American orbit.

That orbit is accompanied by a time-sequence graphic showing what American land Glenn was orbiting over every half hour of his historic flight.

The chronology of important events in Glenn's life gets lost in the Afterword, but every other part of this book is well presented.

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Social Studies for Kids
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David White