Journey to the International Space Station with Astronaut Annie

Suzanne Slade

This month, in celebration of the anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, we’re launching some out-of-this world reading fun that starts at Start with a Book with a new Space Rangers resource to help your young learners blast off on an adventure to explore, read, play, invent, build, and learn all about stars, our solar system, and space exploration! Join the mission!

Children's author Suzanne Slade in spacesuit

This is the perfect summer to help kids learn more about space, from the early astronomers like Galileo to what space exploration can tell us now about life on planet Earth, so we are thrilled to start our countdown to the 50th anniversary of the successful Apollo 11 mission with author Suzanne Slade.

Suzanne, a mechanical engineer by degree who worked on Delta rockets, often writes about science and space topics and is an award-winning author of more than 140 children’s books.

Some of her recent titles include Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Inventor’s Secret, and Dangerous Jane.

She’s visiting Book Life to take us on the journey of her title Astronaut Annie to the International Space Station!

July 15, 2019

Earlier this summer, a children’s book titled Astronaut Annie blasted off from Cape Canaveral aboard a SpaceX rocket. Two days later it arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) where it will be read by an astronaut for a program called Story Time from Space.

Astronaut Annie on the printing press in China

But Astronaut Annie traveled a long way before it made it to the Cape. It’s journey began in Shenzhen, China where the book was printed.

Then Astronaut Annie took a long boat ride (about 14,900 miles) from China to Maryland. From there, the book was trucked to a warehouse in Pennsylvania.

Soon, it was mailed to the author (me!) in Chicago, where I wrote a note for the astronaut to read aloud before the story.

Children's author Suzanne Slade signing her book Astronaut Annie

I sent the book to Story Time from Space in British Columbia, Canada. After filling out official paperwork, they mailed it to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX where the book was cleaned and labeled. (Everything on the ISS must be properly cleaned to keep the astronauts safe.)

Next, Astronaut Annie was sent to Cape Canaveral, Florida. After traveling over 21,000 miles, the book finally arrived at the launch pad.

Map of the journey of the Astronaut Annie book from printing in China to delivery at the International Space Station

Astronaut Annie was packed inside the Dragon spacecraft on top of a SpaceX rocket.

May 4, 2019 the rocket launched at 2:48 am!

Dragon began orbiting Earth, and it didn’t take long for astronauts on the ISS to spy the beautiful spacecraft out their window.

Astronauts at the International Space Station unload supplies from the Space X rocket

Using a long robotic arm, the astronauts captured Dragon and pulled it close to the Space Station. After Dragon docked, astronauts unloaded more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, including food, new science experiments, and Astronaut Annie!

Story Time from Space logo

Soon, an astronaut will read Astronaut Annie.

A video of the reading will be posted on the Story Time from Space website where earthlings can watch it! (Until then, check out other book readings while you wait.)


Space Resources for Kids

NASA TV — Live transmission of astronauts living and working on the Space Station.

NASA Kids’ Club — Exciting activities, games, and crafts for children.

Spot the Station — Use this site to find out when the Space Station will soar over your house!

Story Time from Space — Watch videos of astronauts reading books on the Space Station.

Astronaut Annie Teacher’s Guide

Astronaut Annie Book Trailer

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