Almost Astronauts

Almost Astronauts

Candlewick Press | 2009 | 10 and up


Almost Astronauts
13 Women Who Dared to Dream

WINNER of the Robert F. Sibert Medal! (American Library Association's Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year)

Foreword by Margaret A. Weitekamp, Curator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Available in Hardcover and Paperback! Contact Tanya about discounts for classroom sets.

2010 Sibert Medal

In 1961, thirteen women were tested to see if women were equally qualified to be astronauts as men. You probably don't know their story. There's a reason for that.

Nearly two decades before Sally Ride--there was Jerrie Cobb. Have you ever heard of her? Did you know there were extraordinary women ready and able to be astronauts at the very same time John Glenn and Scott Carpenter were making history? Yet they were turned away. No women allowed.

Jerrie Cobb was one of the top female pilots in the country and completed all the astronaut testing the Mercury 7 men did. She excelled at all the tests. Proved she had the Right Stuff. Twelve other female pilots followed her, passing the tests they took with flying colors. But when push came to shove, the answer was No. There was no room for women in the space program.

But these brave women weren't the kind to give up. They took it to Congress. There was a Congressional hearing. There were heavy hitters who testified against them. This is a story that took me to airfields, to the military...and to the women themselves. 

You won't believe what Jerrie Cobb told me Lyndon B. Johnson said to her in his office one fateful day. Get ready to be amazed by their story...

WATCH Tanya on CSPAN-Book TV present Almost Astronauts at Politics & Prose 

Hear an interview with Tanya on VPR 

FREE BONUS MATERIAL--a tribute to the women by the author. 

Download Reading Guide

Download Free CCSS



Robert F. Sibert Medal

Bank Street's Flora Stieglitz Straus Award

ALA/YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Honor

Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor

NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor 

Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor 

State Award Lists: Arizona, California, New Mexico

More Awards/Honors: An Outstanding Science Trade Book, CCBC Choices 2010, Kirkus Best YA Books, Notable Social Studies Trade Book, Horn Book Fanfare, Amelia Bloomer List, IRA Teacher's Choice, Richie's Picks, Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books, Smithsonian Magazine Best Books of 2009, ALA Notable, Horn Book Summer Reading List, American Association for the Advancement of Science Summer Reading List, and Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA)!    


Starred Review, Kirkus: "fascinating, dramatic story...the author offers great insight into how deeply ingrained sexism was in American society...this empowering, impassioned story will leave readers inspired."

Starred Review, Horn Book: "meticulously researched and thrillingly told"
Starred Review, School Library Journal: "exceptional...passionately written account" 
Booklist: "a fast read...the crucial civil-rights history will stay with readers...long, spacious back matter is part of the story"
Publishers Weekly: "a gripping narrative...[Readers] will undoubtedly be moved." 

Natural History Magazine: "a much truer portrait of an era than the many self-congratulatory celebrations of the Moon landing published this year."   

Nancy Pearl: "This is a stirring, and ultimately sad, story of hopes dashed and talent wasted. But in the end, I suppose, it's more helpful to view Cob, Hart, and the others as setting the stage for all the women who came after them."  

San Francisco Chronicle: "Balanced but brimming with righteous indignation...carefully researched...exhilarating reading...stirring interviews and stunning archival photos."  
Eileen Collins, Colonel, U.S. Air Force (Retired) and first female Space Shuttle Commander: "Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Even after thirty years of flying, the "Mercury 13" women still inspire me!"  
Librarian Lynn Rutan (on Booklist blog): "fascinating...a gripping story...this book is so engaging that the injustice left me outraged and yearning to hand copies to everyone I met." 
Librarian Cindy Dobrez (on Booklist blog): "I want the movie!...the book is for everyone...Get your hands on a copy!" 
Bookslut, Colleen Mondor: Almost Astronauts belongs in the library of any space nut and most certainly in the hands of every American kid who dreams of the stars." 
Teri Lesesne "The Goddess of YA Literature": "A book that will raise your dander...I plan to tell anyone who will listen about this incredible work of nonfiction...a book to be read and savored."  
ForeWord Magazine: "Combining historical expose, social analysis, and biography, Stone captures the times, the players, and the courage and capabilities of this extraordinary group of thirteen women." 
From GoodReads: "Tanya Lee Stone does a particularly good job of familiarizing readers with the gender norms and barriers of the era....She backs up each claim so solidly that discussion of patriarchy and discrimination does not come across as political, but rather as objective fact. 

Roundtable Review for Kids: "fascinating book...most adults will also find this a riveting story...will inspire girls of all ages." 

Examiner: "an inspiring must-buy...engaging, fascinating, heart-wrenching, and thrilling"