cover image Farther than the Moon

Farther than the Moon

Lindsay Lackey. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-20520-9

Junior astronauts aim for disability inclusion in Lackey’s conscientiously researched summer camp drama. After their father left, 13-year-old Houston Stewart, who cues as white, promised his now-10-year-old brother, Robbie, that they’d travel space together. So when Houston is accepted into the Junior Astronaut Recruitment Program, a NASA recruitment camp inaccessible to people with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, like Robbie, he feels guilt “like a black hole, sucking Houston into a familiar crush.” Still, he goes, both to work toward his future and for an opportunity to meet his estranged maternal grandfather, astronaut Carey Broderick. He hits turbulence with Broderick upon arrival, and as a camp competition to propose a bold new project for NASA heats up, Houston wonders both how to work through conflict on his crew and whether space travel will ever be accessible to all humankind. Inspired by a family member with cerebral palsy, per an author’s note, Lackey (All the Impossible Things) employs close perspective and nuanced characterization to capture the realities of full-time caretaking as well as the brothers’ joyful connection. Anchored by the detail-rich space program environment, the book’s competitive tension balances the introspective evolution of intersectionally diverse cast members. Age 10–14. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)