To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space is a children's nonfiction picture book written by Carmella Van Vleet and Dr. Kathy Sullivan. It was illustrated by Nicole Wong. Kathy Sullivan wanted to go everywhere. She loved blueprints and maps. She loved languages and the ocean. Kathy liked fishing and swimming; flying planes and studying science. That’s what she liked and that’s what she decided to do with her life. She didn’t like the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She wanted to explore and do exciting things that girls weren’t supposed to be able to do. Only men had the exciting jobs. She followed her heart and eventually became a NASA astronaut and the first woman to walk in space. Kathy wanted to see the whole world and so she did; from space!
To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space is a simple look at some of the struggles Kathy Sullivan faced as a child, living the things that were not acceptable for girls to like. Thankfully she followed her heart and studied and researched all of the things she was interested in despite those that tried to change her focus. The illustrations are subtle and sweet, background watercolor-like images that show the activities and dreams of Sullivan, and chronicle some of her successes. I liked the additional information at the end about Kathy and other women that made history in the field. However, I thought the body of the book was a little too vague on what Kathy did to follow her dreams. We learned about her being told her interests and job prospects were intended for men, and about her cool flying experience, and a few other tidbits. However I felt like there was not much for young girls to learn about how Kathy went from dreamer to astronaut until the biographical page at the end of the book.
To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space is a nice book for young readers to show how important it is to follow your dreams, regardless of what others might saw. The information in the backwater was the most informative and interesting part as far as I was concerned, but found the idea behind the book and story to be reasonably well done.