Jessie is a historical fiction that follows the lives of the Cole family as they are removed from their home on Merritt Island, Florida to make way for the growing manned space flight program. They relocate across the Indian River to the small town of Indian River City where the four teenage boys must learn to cope with a new school, bullies, social changes, and family separation as they watch with anticipation America’s race to the moon.
I was born the same time the Space Shuttle program was ramping up, and nearly ever kid I knew had at least one parent working at the Space Center. I will never forget the day we watched the Challenger launch and knew the instant it had all gone wrong. The announcement of the end of the program was heartbreaking, but it gave me the spark to jump back in time to see how our space adventure started. I had a basic knowledge of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, but my research gave me a new appreciation for the men and women who took a leap of faith and invested themselves so passionately into creating new technology. This story focuses on the astronauts, but every person who worked behind the scenes was just as important, as those brave enough to climb atop the rockets and race into the sky.
DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR CLASS
(These questions can also be accessed in free pdf form here):DiscussionQforJessie
- What was the space race and why was it important?
- What do you think is next for the space program?
- How do you think this story would have been different if it took place from 2000-2009 instead of 1960-1969?
- What scene resonated most with you personally in either a positive or negative way? Why?
- Did any of the characters remind you of yourself or someone you know? How?
- Were there any moments where you disagreed with the choices of any of the characters? What would you have done differently?
- Have any of YOUR views or thoughts changed after reading this book?
In a time when we take for granted so much of the technology we have, I hope this story will reawaken a desire to learn more, to strive for new frontiers, and open our eyes to strength of our own dreams. I kept a list of the he resources I used and I’m happy to share them with you. I hope you will find them as inspiring as I do.
I did a great deal of research for this book. There are a number of books I would recommend as additional reading:
A history of Kennedy Space Center by Kenneth Lipartito
Brevard: On the Edge of Sea and Space by Elaine Murray Stone
History of Brevard County, Volume 2 by Jerrell H. Shofner
Moon Launch! A History of the Saturn-Apollo Launch Operations by Charles D. Benson
Memories of Merritt Island by Gail Briggs Nolen
My two personal favorites were:
Live from Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today by Jay Barbree
Gemini! A Personal Account of Man’s Venture Into Space by Virgil “Gus” Grissom.
Jay Barbree also recently released a book on Neil Armstrong that I am greatly enjoying.
I had the chance to tour Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.to see the original launch sites used during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo days.
I saved many of the videos I used for research on my YouTube channel, including original news footage of launches and even the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Of course I used the NASA.gov website extensively as well as archive.org for audio of misson control during the launches. NASA also has a website for educators and students to learn more about what is going on now with the International Space station, aeronautics, aviation, black holes, constellations, and more.
Meet The Author:
Rebekah Lyn is a popular Indie writer with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of Faith, Adventure, and Hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books.
She received her Bachelors degree in Communications from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida and her career immediately introduced her into the life of event planning, media coordinator, and client interaction. She has been employed for nearly 20 years by a Fortune 500 corporation in Orlando.
Rebekah is a sandal-loving native Floridian, growing up in Titusville, Florida, within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. This was an exciting time to live on the Space Coast, with launches taking place on a regular basis. Growing up, the best place to watch a launch was at the edge of the Indian River, just blocks from Rebekahʼs home.
You can connect with Rebekah online at:
Independent Authors Network: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/rebekah-lyn.html