Racing the Moon
By Alan Armstrong, illustrations by Tim Jessell.
Random House, 2012. 224 pp., $16.99.
It’s 1947, and 11-year-old Alexis and her reckless older brother, Chuck, are obsessed with space. They have a “moon station” tree house, are interested in radar, and plan to build their own rockets. When Captain Ebbs, an Army scientist and descendant of Captain John Smith, moves next door, she encourages the pair’s scientific interests — even introducing them to German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun — and takes them on a sailing trip toward Wallops Island, Virginia, to watch a rocket launch. Excerpts from John Smith’s journals, woven throughout the story, draw parallels between the two adventures. Ages 8–12.