Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story

Collins, Michael. Flying to the Moon: An Astronaut's Story. 1994 Revised Edition. 162pp. Lexile 1170.

Collins, the astronaut who piloted the command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first walk on the moon, describes his path to Apollo 11 and the remarkable mission itself. The book opens with the day of the moon landing, then goes back to show how Collins ended up as part of the moon landing team, following a career as an Air Force test pilot and his work as an astronaut on the Gemini 10 flight and at Mission Control for Apollo 8.  This well-written account looks at the technology of space launches as well as the work of an astronaut.  Collins conveys the suspense of the Apollo 11 flight, the amazing experience of circling past the dark side of the moon alone, and a genuine enthusiasm for space exploration.   A great read.

Speech tie-in:  At the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum website, students can read and listen to President Kennedy's speech, "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961,"
(Kennedy Speech) in which he proposed "that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."  Students can read it in conjunction with Collins's story or as a history-changing Presidential speech.