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Ellen Takes Flight: The Life of Astronaut Ellen Ochoa (A Big Words Book) (Hardcover)
Celebrate the groundbreaking life of astronaut and Johnson Space Center director Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space, in this latest book in the award-winning Big Words biography series.
Young Ellen loved to learn. Encouraged by her mother, she graduated at the top of her high school and college classes, and studied electrical engineering in graduate school. An accomplished engineer by age 30, with three patents to her name, she kept learning and trying new things. When NASA began accepting women and people of color to the astronaut program, Ellen found herself drawn to this exciting and demanding career. On her first mission, she was the only woman aboard the shuttle Discovery and the first Latina to reach outer space. After four space flights, she became the first Latina director of the Johnson Space Center and has received numerous distinctions and awards.
This addition to the award-winning Big Words biography series celebrates a STEM pioneer known for her brilliance, persistence, and an intellectual curiosity as infinite as the stars. With dynamic illustrations by Oliver Dominguez, Doreen Rappaport’s richly detailed narrative—punctuated with standout quotes from Ellen herself—will inspire a new generation to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
About the Author
Doreen Rappaport’s nonfiction and historical fiction books have been acclaimed for their meticulous research and varied literary styles. She is the recipient of the Washington Post Children’s Book Guild lifetime achievement award for the writing of nonfiction. Her many award-winning biographies include the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor book Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier; Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, illustrated by Kadir Nelson; and Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Doreen lives in upstate New York and invites you to visit her online at doreenrappaport.com.
Oliver Dominguez is an award-winning Colombian American children’s book illustrator and instructor. His love of historical figures has led him to illustrate numerous titles, including Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack, written by Sandra Nickel; Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit the World, written by Elizabeth Rusch; and Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball, written by David A. Kelly. Oliver lives in Florida with his family and invites you visit him online at oliverdominguezart.com or on Instagram @oliverdominguezart.
A Junior Library Guild Selection A 2023 Chicago Public Library Best Informational Book for Young Readers A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Book of 2023 A 2024 National Science Teaching Association Best STEM Book
* "The writing is excellent: Essential aspects of astronaut qualifications, training, and experience are described in clear detail.... Brilliant, sure-handed gouache illustrations add even more vivid life to the well-paced text.... A book sure to fly off shelves and into children’s hands."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Inspirational.... Dominguez’s engineering-like mixed-media art fittingly captures the underlying details around Ochoa’s determination and time spent in space."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "The majestic art is done in gouache, ink, color pencil, and pastel. The paintings are reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s work and have incredible detail.... An excellent picture book biography of a groundbreaking Latina that soars." —School Library Journal, starred review
"The text is informative and lively.... Pastel-hued scenes of Ochoa’s training and flights into space—in particular, a spread of her learning to parachute—radiate the joy which the astronaut approached her life’s pursuit."—The Horn Book
"Rappaport’s informative text moves along at a good pace, and the illustrations—drawings painted with vibrant colors—are lively.... A picture-book biography for tomorrow’s astronauts."—Booklist
Praise for Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ALSC Notable Children’s Books 2021 RISE List Top Ten Bank Street College of Education Best Books
"A well-researched picture book biography."—Publishers Weekly
"Velasquez's arresting jacket portrait of Ginsburg, superimposed on a facsimile of the U.S. Constitution, conveys a woman of purpose; Rappaport's biography, largely focused on Ginsburg's work for gender equality, reinforces this first impression."—Horn Book