Star Sailor: My Life as a NASA Astronaut

Binding: Hardcover

Imprint: Candlewick Press

Age 8+

Children's & Young Adult: General Non-Fiction

Space science and shared humanity shine as the first Black head of NASA offers an up-close and thrilling account of his shuttle missions, including some of the defining moments of NASA’s history. With immersive full-color photos.

Sail the stars with astronaut Charlie Bolden as he recounts his amazing shuttle missions, including deploying the Hubble Space Telescope, training with Sally Ride, and leading the first US space mission that included a Russian cosmonaut as a crew member. Charlie even got to congratulate Star Wars creator George Lucas at the Academy Awards—from space! Follow Charlie’s incredible story, from watching movies as a kid about Flash Gordon flying to Mars—from the balcony where Black people had to sit—all the way to becoming the first Black NASA Administrator. From the thrill of watching lightning storms from the mesosphere to the heartbreak of the Challenger disaster, Charles’s life as a star sailor is full of adventure and discovery, told in his own words along with award-winning author Tonya Bolden. In-depth looks at how astronauts train, work, and live are complemented by diagrams, highlighted vocabulary, scientific sidebars, and incredible personal photographs. Back matter includes an author’s note and timeline.


Charles F. Bolden Jr. became the first Black NASA Administrator in 2009. He logged more than six hundred hours in space over the course of four shuttle missions. During Bolden’s eight-year tenure as NASA Administrator, the agency developed a spacecraft to carry astronauts to asteroids and Mars, landed the Curiosity rover on Mars, and launched spacecraft to Jupiter. Charles F. Bolden Jr. lives outside Washington, DC.

Tonya Bolden has authored, coauthored, or edited more than forty books, including Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow with Henry Louis Gates Jr., No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and His Kingdom in Kansas, illustrated by Don Tate; and Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man. She is the recipient of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, an Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, and the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award, and several of her books have been named School Library Journal Best Books of the Year. She lives in New York City.

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