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When he wasn't soaring above the clouds, astronaut Alan Shepard used his expertise to benefit others, raising money to fuel the dreams of science students and guiding NASA missions. The achievements of this high flyer-America's "Lindbergh of Space"-inspire all who dare to live their dreams.
For ages 10 and up.
Vendor: Ywam Publishing
Dimensions: 7.50 X 5.50 (inches)
Series: Heroes of History
Anne5 Stars Out Of 5Great Book--Use with the Unit Study GuideMay 31, 2011AnneQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I read the biography of Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster by Janet and Geoff Benge. I realized as I read how little I knew about the development of Aviation and aeronautical history. I learned so much! It was quite interesting to me. As I read the story of his life, I was struck early on by how competitive this man was. I was also struck, as a wife and mom, by how much of his life he was absent from his family. I struggled with these two facets of his life as I read through the book, but I pressed on. I discovered that after he retired from the Navy and NASA, he went on to pursue philanthropic efforts. He gave much of himself to others. He did also commit to raising his wife's sister's daughter when she passed away. Yet, I was still puzzled as to how to feel towards this man who was extremely competitive and struck me as possibly abrasive towards others. In fact, he was known for having rough edges. But, what I didn't know when I finished the book prompted me to begin searching for more about this man and about space travel. I learned that Alan Shepard was a very private man. He did co-author one autobiography of himself and other astronauts, Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon. It is one of the sources the Benges list in their bibliography at the back of the book. I discussed the book with my husband and he explained to me that in order to do what Alan Shepard did, he needed to be extremely competitive--to have the drive in order to persevere against the odds and when things were tough. Indeed, his competitiveness was of great value to him in this sense. I also struggled with the realization that only college graduates were considered when NASA was beginning. It seemed rather elitest for that time to me. But, my husband explained that in order to be an astronaut, someone needed to have the skills and knowledge that came from attending college. I knew he was right. But, it was actually the curriculum guide that set my heart at ease and helped me respect Alan Shepard more deeply. It was the curriculum guide that helped me see him as a flawed man, but as one worthy of respect. In the curriculum guide, there are comprehension and discussion questions for each chapter. These questions follow Bloom's Taxonomy for comprehension. The first questions are aimed at recall and then they progress up the triangle towards analyzing and evaluating. The essay questions in the guide take what the student has learned and moves to the top of the pyramid of "creating". We are all flawed and it is easy for biographies to present someone as an ideal hero. This seems dangerous to me. But, the Benges' book did not portray Shepard as a perfect man. I am thankful for this. The book and comprehension guide will help students see Shepard's strengths and flaws that they might learn from and be encouraged by his example. This book is appropriate for 5th-8th graders. The reading level is 5th/6th grade. On YWAM Publishing's website has a curriculum plan on how to use the books from this series to help teach U.S. History. I am going to use this plan along with History Pockets to teach my children U.S. History for 5th and 6th grades. Usually, I am not quite so blatant about my recommendations, but I do highly recommend this series of books and the curriculum guides. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from YWAM Publishing.
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