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We Dream of Space: 06/06/20
We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly takes place in the month leading up to the Challenger explosion. Because of my age and the fact that this is a middle grade novel, I happen to have been the age of the children when this actually happened. As you can imagine, it made the reading experience a raw one.
Bird, Fitch, and Cash Nelson Thomas are siblings. Bird and Fitch are fraternal twins. Cash is the eldest but has been held back so that they're all in seventh grade together. Their parents aren't happily married and probably should get a divorce as their relationship is making for a toxic environment.
The only thing the three siblings have in common is an enthusiastic science teacher, Ms. Salonga. She applied and failed to be the teacher in space. She's theming January's lessons around the Challenger.
Bird loves the class and her teacher and dreams of being the first female shuttle commander. She also draws the most interesting "Bird's eye view" diagrams of machines. Cash meanwhile wants to be on the basketball team but can't play because of a broken arm. Fitch, meanwhile, lives in the local arcade where he has a hanger-on, a boy named Marsh.
Erin Entrada Kelly fills the world of Bird, Fitch, and Cash with pop culture and news from the times. The music, the television shows, the arcade games, the sports stars and so forth. It's all there and it's a believable mix of old and new as any era is.
The book includes an afterword that explains the events of the Challenger as well as the progress of women in NASA.