Title: Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster
Author: Janet & Geoff Benge
Series: Heroes of History
Major Themes: Aviation, Airplanes, Alan Shepard, Astronauts, Moon, Navy, Space
Synopsis: Alan Shepard’s goal in life was to fly higher and faster than anyone else.
I really, really like the biographies that Janet & Geoff Benge write! I would like to read all of them to my family eventually. We finished Alan Shepard: Higher and Faster last week, after enjoying a trip through the first ten years of the Space Race. There are some fascinating stories told in this book!
Alan Shepard began life as a boy in New Hampshire. He became fascinated with aviation and read everything he could get his hands on about Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. When he was in his teens he worked out a way to get flying lessons, and after many hours of practice became a test pilot for the United States Navy. We were on the edge of our seats a few times as we read of some of his perilous flights!
When the U. S. entered the space race, Alan knew instantly that he wanted to be the first astronaut to go into space. He set about to achieve that goal, and persevered through many ups and downs. His next goal was to walk on the moon, which appeared to be impossible after he developed a strange inner-ear problem.
Even if you are not particularly interested in space or flying, there are some incredible tales told in this book. We all enjoyed it very much. This is not only the story of one man’s life, it is also the detailed account of the United States space program through the 1960s. There are also a number of stories from the early days of aircraft carriers and the Korean War. Unlike many other books by the Benges, this one is not about a Christian, but we found it valuable for the historical information.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10– 12, 12 – 15