cover image Ellen Takes Flight: The Life of Astronaut Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Takes Flight: The Life of Astronaut Ellen Ochoa

Doreen Rappaport, illus. by Oliver Dominguez. Little, Brown, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7595-5494-8

A flutist and physicist becomes the first Latina to visit space in Rappaport and Dominguez’s inspirational biography of Ellen Ochoa (b. 1958). Beginning with her early life, detailed text describes how Ochoa, one of five siblings, shared a love of learning with her mother. After watching the 1969 moon landing, Ochoa was intrigued by the idea of space exploration, but “the space program didn’t accept women.” In college, she majored in physics, then headed to graduate school for electrical engineering. After the astronaut program began accepting applications from women and people of color in 1978, and her first application saw her rejected, she continued to pursue her goal: “She took flying lessons... got a private pilot’s license... went to work for NASA.” Accepted into astronaut training in 1990, she went on to participate in four flights, even playing the flute in space. Dominguez’s engineering-like mixed-media art fittingly captures the underlying details around Ochoa’s determination and time spent in space. Creator notes and a timeline conclude. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)