Margaret and the Moon

How Margaret Hamilton
Saved the First
Lunar Landing

 Knopf Books for Young Readers
(Random House Kids)

(pub. 5.16.2017)
40 pages

A True Tale with
A Cherry On Top   

A uthor: Dean Robbins
      and illustrator: Lucy Knisley

C haracter: Margaret Hamilton

 verview from the jacket flap: 

     "Margaret Hamilton always had questions,. About bugs. About baseball. About the stars in the sky. She wanted answers, so she sought them out herself.  
     Margaret's curiosity extended from the intricate logic of mathematics to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and eventually led her to NASA. And there, she wrote the code for the computer commands on the Apollo missions.
     A pioneer in her field, Margaret proves that nothing can stop you from finding the answers you seek."

T antalizing taste: 
     "For four days, the spacecraft drew nearer to the moon. The lunar module, named the Eagle, split off to make the landing.
     But within minutes left to go, an astronaut entered a command and the master alarm buzzed.
     The Eagle's computer started preforming too many tasks.  OVERLOAD! OVERLOAD!
     The control room panicked. The moon landing was in danger!
     Everyone looked at Margaret. Had she prepared for this problem?
     Of course!
     Margaret's code made the computer ignore the extra tasks and focus on the landing.
     It brought the Eagle closer to the moon's surface.
     Closer ... Closer ... TOUCH DOWN!"
and something more: I so clearly remember sitting on the floor of my living room watching the landing of the Eagle and the subsequent events. I was fascinated to learn from the Author's Note that "due to an error on the astronauts' checklist, a switch ended up in the wrong position and and a computer overloaded. It looked like the lunar module might have to turn back - and it might even crash! But Margaret's brilliant programming allowed the computer to zero in on its most important tasks: landing the spacecraft safely on the moon."
      I was pleased to learn that in 2003 Margaret "won NASA's Exceptional Space Act Award for her groundbreaking contributions to the United States Space program."  A true inspiration!


Linda B said...

I remember watching, too, but I don't remember them telling us of this danger. How calm they all had to be when that happened. Wow! Thanks for sharing the book.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Linda,
Yes, I had the same reaction -- I don't remember hearing anything about that danger. Very interesting!

Annette said...

I loved the conclusion, where she goes outside and looks up at the moon. I was pretty tiny during the moon landing but I vividly remember looking at the moon in the sky and my brother telling me that there were people walking on it as we watched.

Cheriee Weichel said...

Thanks for the information about this book. I just put it on hold at my library.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Annette, Oh! I love hearing your story of your memory of the moon landing. How sweet is that to have your brother telling you that people were up there walking on the moon as you looked at it!
Thanks for stopping by!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Cheriee,
I think you'll enjoy reading it! Thanks for stopping by!