Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. 2006. 80pp. Lexile 1060.

In this large, beautifully designed book that won the Sibert Award, Thimmesh draws on interviews and oral histories from those who, although not the astronauts themselves, were instrumental in getting astronauts on the moon in 1969.  The 400,000 people mentioned in the subtitle include those at Rockwell, the company that built the command module, and Grumman, which built the lunar module.  Fifteen thousand NASA employees worked for many years before the launch to prepare for the historic flight. Five hundred people were involved just in designing and sewing the spacesuits.  Excellent use of quotations and  photographs distinguishes this book, as does the choice of white print on black background.  The unusually thoughtful back matter includes profiles of important players; sources and chapter notes; suggested resources for "further exploration;" a short time line of Apollo missions; an index; and a glossary.

Reading Std #2: Determine central ideas or themes and analyze their development; summarize key supporting details and ideas.  Thimmesh states her central idea in the subtitle.  Have students find specific examples and quotations that provide supporting details.  They might also think about other large enterprises that highlight a few individuals but need a large effort to succeed.

Web Tie-in:  Thimmesh recommends the Apollo Lunar Journal online ( as the richest online resource on the moon landing.  It provides mission transcripts, interviews, multimedia, reports, and more.  She describes it as "a treasure not to be missed."