Book review: Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space, by Tam O’Shaughnessy

O’Shaughnessy, Tam. Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Space. Roaring Brook, 2015. $19.99. 160p. 9781596439948. Ages 10-14. P8Q8

OShaughnessy Sally RideThis biography of the first woman in space, filled with personal and private photos and memorabilia, is far more personal that earlier ones because it is written by Ride’s partner of 27 years who was present for pivotal moments in the astronaut’s life. The conversational tone is intimate, as if the author is sharing family stories. After telling about Ride’s childhood and her interest in science, O’Shaughnessy speaks briefly of her lesbianism and frustration with gender inequality. Ride’s sense of privacy kept most of the public unaware of her sexual orientation, and the author’s openness will be inspirational for young LGBT readers while the format makes it a good selection for reluctant readers. Before Ride died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer, she and her partner joined with three friends to found Sally Ride Science; its goal is to encourage girls and young women to follow careers in science. In an interview, the author explained the reason behind her book: “I want people to really know who Sally was—the real Sally—and how much fun she was, how much integrity she had, and that she really followed her heart … [and also] the very cool things she accomplished.”

April 2016 review by Nel Ward.

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