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Reviewed by Rachel Inbar for Readers' Favorite
Reach for the Stars Like Kalpana, written by Kay B and illustrated by Adriana Cifuentes Acosta, tells the story of Kalpana Chawla, a little girl with a big dream. Determined to make her ambition of becoming an engineer come true, she ignores anybody who tries to stop her. She strives to learn as much as she can, to gain the knowledge that was so rare for girls in India when she was growing up. Her parents object but she is able to convince them, or perhaps her sheer determination makes them realize they don't have much say in the matter. Later, her university tried to dissuade her from studying aerospace engineering. Does Kalpana change majors? I don't think so! She's got her eyes on the prize and she's going to get it! Kalpana ends up not only working at NASA but being the first Indian woman in space!
Kay B's Reach for the Stars by Kalpana is based on a true story, as Kalpana Chawla flew on the space shuttle Columbia twice. Sadly, her second flight ended tragically, although this is not mentioned explicitly in the book. This is a great example to show children that even when obstacles arise, determination helps to overcome them. Adriana Cifuentes Acosta's illustrations provide additional insight into Kalpana as a child and the adult she became, showing her experimenting and dreaming of flight. They add both lightness and another level of interest to the story, making the book a perfect addition to any child's bookshelf!