197. After the Challenger by Robert Marsh

After the Challenger: A Story of the Space Shuttle Disaster by Robert Marsh. Illustrated by Marcelo Baez. (Canada) - (US)
Graphic Flash

Pages: 53
Ages: 8+
Finished: Sept. 1, 2011
First Published: Jan. 2009
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, historical fiction, space travel, astronauts, disasters
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

Cocoa Beach, Florida.
January 28, 1986.

Hey guys! Sorry, I'm late.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: Read to ds as part of our history curriculum.

Dustin is fascinated with space travel and spends all his time keeping up to date with the space program.  His father wishes he would spend more time with the family and show an interest in the family scallop boat.  Dustin goes with his class to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger launch and witnesses the following tragedy.  Later his dad gets a contract to look for debris and Dustin and his sister come along.

First this book is a cross between a graphic and textual novel.  Every chapter starts with a one page graphic sequence and there are the occasional one page that show up during chapters also, but the majority of the book is a regular textual chapter book.  The story of the Challenger tragedy is handled very well for the pre-12 age group.  The first chapter is quite long and details the set up of the launch, the teacher in space program, and the final explosion.  It is quite intense and detailed but age appropriate.  The rest of the book concentrates on the story of the family but also releases more information about the disaster and the recovery of the pieces, as well as the investigation. At the end of the book there is a short essay "More about" which goes into greater factual detail with the scientific explanation of what went wrong with the shuttle. The book does leave one with the impression that the astronauts died in the explosion, which was what was first thought. Thus keeping other more horrifying images out of young heads.  A very good book for this age group about this sensitive topic.


  1. Thanks for the review! Glad you enjoyed the book. Hope it sparked your kid's interest in the space program.

  2. Hi Robert! Thanks for dropping by! Yes, my son found it fascinating and has become quite interested in astronauts and space travel.


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