How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure Book Poster Image
Brilliantly told and illustrated story of the epic moonshot.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

For aspiring young scientists, there are a number of experiments that reflect problems encountered and solved by the NASA team. Use a bicycle wheel to learn how a gyroscope works to keep a platform stable and cardboard, aluminum foil and ice cubes to see how engineers slowed down thermal radiation. An experiment with soda bottles and water helps readers understand how they solved "sloshing" in the fuel tanks and keeping those tanks pressurized. There's also list and brief descriptions of all the Apollo Piloted Missions from Apollo 7 to Apollo 17.

Positive Messages

A diverse team of men and women with vision, imagination, and a determination can solve the most challenging and complex problems and accomplish extraordinary things.

Positive Role Models

It's not just astronauts who are role models in this story. The NASA team that took them to the moon included immigrant scientists like Egyptian born geologist Farouk El-Baz, who helped identify the best landing spot on the Moon. A brilliant group of African American women made calculations for the trajectory and landing (Hidden Figures). Project Engineer Dottie Lee helped design the heat shield on the Command Module and Eleanor Foraker led the team of skilled seamstresses who sewed (much of it by hand) each of the Apollo spacesuits. The author also makes certain readers appreciate the contribution of the thousands of welders and construction workers who made the Moon landing possible.


Three astronauts die in a fire (not described) while testing a Command Module for the Moon landing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that John Rocco's How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure is an inspiring, lavishly illustrated, and information-packed look at how an extraordinary team of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, construction workers, and even seamstresses worked together to land the first man on the Moon. Beginning with the earliest days of the space programs in the United StateS and Russia, the book uses detailed and brilliantly colored diagrams and drawings to take readers through designing the Saturn V rocket, building a Launch Vehicle, spacecraft, and Lunar Module and finally, the journey to, landing on, and return from the Moon. If the hand-drawn illustrations have a familiar look to readers, author Rocco illustrated the covers for Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKazmas November 13, 2020

oh no

my 3 year old watched this and it said the f word please help
Teen, 15 years old Written bySM537 March 18, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written bymac_e.002 October 28, 2020

Very good, but more for older kids

I think that this is a very good book, and very informing but there is a lot of vocabulary and I am 12 and when reading this, a lot of the time I got lost and c... Continue reading

What's the story?

HOW WE GOT TO THE MOON begins with the first space flights in the late 1950s and early '60s (with men, a Russian women, a chimp, and dogs aboard) and the U.S.'s Mercury and Gemini space programs. The following chapters ("Designing a Rocket," "Building a Launch Vehicle," "Building a Spacecraft," "Staying Alive in Space," "Support on the Ground," and "We Choose to Go the the Moon") are filled with boldly colored illustrations and detailed diagrams: how the F-1 engine of the rocket worked, the auxiliary propulsion system, the design of the Saturn V rocket, the three-layered Apollo Spacesuit and the heat shield, even how to go to the bathroom in space. Detailed drawings take readers inside the Lunar Module, the Command Module Control Panel, and the Vehicle Assembly Building. The "We Choose to Go to the Moon" chapter features actual countdown sequences for the launch, liftoff, journey to the Moon, landing, and return to Earth. Readers will also see some of the problems faced by the team and the solutions they found: Not enough power on board to last for the eight days of the mission? Use full cells. Does the Lunar Module weigh too much? Simple, take out the seats for the astronauts.

Is it any good?

This thrilling, information-packed scientific adventure story is brought vividly to life through pages filled with detailed and boldly colored drawings and diagrams. How We Got to the Moon isn't just for aspiring young scientists, the story is captivatingly told and the profiles of the men and women who worked on the moon landing are sure to inspire any young reader looking for role models with the determination and vision to imagine great things.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the NASA team in How We Got to the Moon looked at big problems as challenges to be solved, not roadblocks. What's been the biggest or most difficult problem you've had to solve? How did you get past its "roadblock"?

  • The scientists and mathematicians who worked on the moon landing didn't have computers, so they used slide rules and 40-pound electromechanical calculators. How would your life change if you could no longer use a computer (and that includes your phones and tablets)?

  • Is there somewhere (far far away or close to home) you'd like to explore? What would you want to learn and experience while you were there?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate