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Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Celebrated in Delightful Picture Book from Kristy Dempsey

Updated on June 6, 2019
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Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

The Eagle Has Landed

Special picture book commemorating this historical moon landing
Special picture book commemorating this historical moon landing | Source

One Dad's Contribution to the Moon Landing

Kristy Dempsy's special picture book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon honors the important contribution of one dad who made the special fabric for the astronauts' suits. Papa Put A Man On The Moon honors the men and women who worked at the mill where this fabric was produced.

Marthanne's dad works at the mill where fabric is made and he gets an important new job assignment from the government to make special fabric for suits to be worn by the astronauts who will go to the moon. Marthanne and her dad often sit outside to look at the moon. Marthanne dreams of the possibility of men going to the moon as she has heard about. The day arrives and the launch is made. Everyone is glued to their television set as Walter Cronkite narrates the news. How exciting to see the rocket disappear into the heavens! Four days later the famous words are heard with "the Eagle has landed." Marthanne knows that her dad is thinking about his special fabric that the astronauts' suits are made of and he is very proud of his contribution to this historical event. Marthanne's dad did put a man on the moon.

Papa Put A Man On The Moon is written with simple text and celebrates this historical event with all of the facts that are remembered. Young readers will learn about the moon landing with an easy-to-read narrative. Sarah Green contributes her talent as an illustrator with beautiful illustrations that add to the story of the moon landing. Papa Put A Man On The Moon was published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin/Random House. It is recommended for ages 5-8 and has an ISBN of 978-0-735-23074-3.

Beautiful Illustrations Add to the Story of the Moon Landing

A dad working on the fabric for the astronauts' suits
A dad working on the fabric for the astronauts' suits | Source
Marthanne and her dad often look at the moon
Marthanne and her dad often look at the moon | Source
Famous words "the Eagle has landed"
Famous words "the Eagle has landed" | Source
Neil Armstrong steps out onto the moon
Neil Armstrong steps out onto the moon | Source
An illustration of the famous scene when our flag was planted on the moon
An illustration of the famous scene when our flag was planted on the moon | Source

An Interview with Kristy Dempsy

I was privileged to submit questions to Kristy Dempsy for her to speak about her new picture book that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Her in depth answers are highly interesting. She has a connection to the mill where the special fabric was created in that her own grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles actually worked at this mill at some point in their lives.

*Me: " Why did you choose this write this picture book? Please share your connection with the fabric mill with the readers.".

Kristy Dempsey: "This picture book was a long time in the making! I knew I wanted to honor the Slater, SC community's contribution to the moon landing since my mother grew up in the mill village, and my grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles all worked in the mill village at one point or another. The people of the mill village were humble and hardworking. The opportunity to be involved in something much bigger than themselves as an exciting possibility. They were mostly thankful for the NASA contract because it provided them with jobs. The mill produced other fabric as well, so not everyone who worked at the mill worked on the NASA project. But the NASA contract kept the mill going at a time when textile mills were having to innovate in order to stay open."

"I began writing the book in 2014 but I had a hard time separating the exact details of my family story from the overarching story of the mill village. It took me two years to really find my way into a story that took details from many families in the community. Then I had too many details and my drafts were too long. I had to be willing to give up parts of the story and leave behind characters who weren't integral to the plot. Ultimately, the story is about a young girl's pride in her father and his consistent work ethic and his unending love for her. It is HER vision in seeing that her papa is part of something much bigger than her feels that makes the story feel important to me."*y Dempsey: "I have a file full or ideas: overlooked historical characters, scientists who saw the poetry present in the world, anecdotes about famous people. They span everything from the discovery and subsequent exploration/exploitation of the Amazon, to biographies of entertainers, to ordinary individuals who accomplished incredible things. I think the way to make history accessible and interesting for children is to put it in the context of their own experiences, their relationships, their emotions, their future. Children need to connect with the reason that their history is important to their future."

*Me: "These kinds of picture books are helpful to teach history to young children. Do you have any interest in other historical happenings that would make good picture books for young readers?"

Kristy Dempsey: "I have a file full of ideas: overlooked historical characters, scientists who saw the poetry present in the world, anecdotes about famous people. They span everything from the discovery and subsequent exploration/exploitation of the Amazon, to biographies of entertainers, to ordinary individuals who accomplished incredible things. I think the way to make history accessible and interesting for children is to put it in the context of their own experiences, their relationships, their emotions, their future. Children need to connect with the reason that their history is important for their future."

*Me: "Where were you watching the moon launch? Do you have special memories about the moon launch"?

Kristy Dempsey: "The moon landing happened just a few months before I was born. But I've watched the newscasts many times. I still get chills! I teach high school English and we have analyzed JFK's speech that set into motion all the investment the moon race would require. It's a fabulous speech! So, while I don't have memories of the actual moon landing, I have studied it enough to feel a deep connection."

© 2019 Cindy Hewitt

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