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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969, had a passion for flying and aeronautical engineering from a very young age. An outing with his father to watch an airplane race in 1932 launched his passion. In 1935 he had his first airplane ride. As a boy, he built one model airplane after another (and a few paper airplanes in between), always looking forward to sending the finished craft zooming across the yard outside his bedroom window, just to see how far it would fly. He worked odd jobs, earning the money to finance his ever-growing fleet of homemade airplanes and to pay for his much-desired flying lessons at the nearby airfield. As a teenager, he researched and designed a wind tunnel, a project that earned him recognition. He graduated from high school in 1947 at sixteen, the youngest graduate at his school. He earned a Holloway scholarship to study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. Little did anyone know then that this passionately brilliant young man would someday walk on the moon.
I remember that day in 1969. I was twelve. Not usually allowed to watch television during the day, I sat down with my grandmother to watch the historic event on a small ten-inch black and white television. My memories of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon parallels that of author Rinda Beach. A lot has been written about this astronaut’s accomplishments, but what’s interesting is the story Rinda weaves in her book, Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. Written with young readers in mind, the story tells of a young Neil Armstrong and his growing passion for airplanes, flying, and the world beyond the skies. With occasional black and white sketches to parallel the story, the author develops a plot that will appeal to young readers and encourage them to dream big, to never lose sight of one's dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Every famous adult was once a child with a dream. Having fond memories of this historic event fifty years ago, it was a pleasure to read this story and learn more about the man whose passion encouraged all of us to dream big. A wonderful addition to the library of young people’s stories about flying and space travel.