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The Spacesuit: How a Seamstress Helped Put Man on the Moon

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Is this book about a real woman in STEAM?

Getting a man on the moon didn't just take scientists: it took seamstresses! There is a competition to make the spacesuit for the first moon landing. Eleanor “Ellie” Foraker is asked to lead a team of other talented seamstresses at ILC Dover, a clothing company, to compete for the chance to make them. No one believes they can win, but they are determined to try.

The list of requirements for a space suit is long and complex: heat resistant, comfortable, light, and precise to within 1/64th of an inch. But Ellie's team proves their mettle, making a key contribution to the space race. This picture book based on the incredible true story behind the spacesuit that astronauts wore on the first moon walk and the team of women who sewed it together is a reminder that all trades and skills need to work together to achieve greatness.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52


Alison Donald


Ariel Landy


Maverick Arts

Recommended Ages:

5 - 9 years

Eleanor “Ellie” Foraker

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Girls Love STEAM Review:

Additional Reader & Professional Reviews:

"Who would have guessed from standard-issue histories of the space race that the spacesuits worn on the moon were largely the work of women employed by the manufacturer of Playtex bras and lines of baby wear? Here, in a profile that laudably focuses on her subject's unusual skills, dedicated work ethic, and uncommon attention to detail rather than her gender or family life, Donald takes Eleanor 'Ellie' Foraker from childhood fascination with needle and thread to work at ILC Dover, then on to the team that created the safe, flexible A7L spacesuit—beating out firms of military designers and engineers to win a NASA competition. Though the author clearly attempts to steer clear of sexist language, she still leaves Foraker and her co-workers dubbed 'seamstresses' throughout and 'engineer' rather unfairly (all so designated presenting male here) defined in the glossary as 'someone who designs and makes things.' Still, her descriptions of the suit's concepts and construction are clear and specific enough to give readers a real appreciation for the technical challenges that were faced and solved. Landy gives the figures in her cleanly drawn illustrations individual features along with period hair and clothing, varying skin tones so that though most are white, at least two are women of color. An outstanding contribution to the recent spate of reminders that women too helped send men to the moon. (Informational picture book. 7-9)"
-- Kirkus*

"The individuals who helped put a man on the moon were not just rocket scientists—and certainly not just men. Inspired by a real-life historical figure, Donald introduces Eleanor 'Ellie' Foraker, who, early in her life, discovers a love of sewing and clothing design. As an adult, Foraker is employed at a clothing company; when her employer enters a competition to sew spacesuits for Apollo astronauts, Foraker leads the team. Landy's quiet, cartoony artwork depicts the subject and her fellow seamstresses as they brainstorm suit designs, troubleshoot, and put in tireless hours sewing ('within 1/64 of an inch,' notes one of the many stated facts). When astronauts test the suits alongside other designs, theirs is deemed 'comfortable. Heat resistant. Light enough to walk on the moon,' and wins. Readers won't gain a strong sense of Foraker as a distinctive character, and the book feels aimed at those younger than the stated age range, but Donald provides a window into a little-told piece of history that is sure to intrigue."
-- Publishers Weekly

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