2979 Days to the Moon
by Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Category: Themes: History
Suzanne Slade’s award-winning free verse and Thomas Gonzalez’s stunning illustrations tell the "captivating" true story of NASA’s effort to land the first man on the Moon.  
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781682630136
  • Publication date: 09/01/2018
  • Page Count: 144
  • Size: 10" x 11"
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781682631386
  • Publication date: 04/01/2019
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 10-14
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 10-14
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Suzanne Slade’s award-winning free verse and Thomas Gonzalez’s stunning illustrations tell the “captivating” true story of NASA’s effort to land the first man on the Moon.

★ “Elegant and informative.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

★ “Captivating…well-researched…stirring.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

★ “Truly out of this world.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

A patriotic testament to American grit and ingenuity, Countdown presents exhilarating, informative, and accessible free verse by award-winning author Suzanne Slade paired with historic photographs and detailed illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez. Together, they capture the gripping historic story of NASA’s 20th century efforts to conquer a new space frontier.

Through triumph and tragedy, success and failure, an entire nation is glued to the high-stakes, 2,979-day mission as 18 astronauts climb into spacecraft; three men die before even leaving the ground; eight rockets soar into space; and 400,000 people―engineers, technicians, scientists, mathematicians, and machinists―join Project Apollo in pursuit of making a dream a reality.

A necessary purchase for all STEM and space enthusiasts.



Suzanne Slade


A mechanical engineer by degree, Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of more than one hundred books. Before beginning her writing career, Suzanne worked in the Mechanical/Propulsion Department at McDonnell Douglas Space Systems in Huntington Beach, CA on Delta rockets, Titan rockets, and the Delta-Star spacecraft.


Thomas Gonzalez


Tom Gonzalez is an illustrator, designer, and portrait artist. A native of Cuba, Tom came to the United States when he was ten years old. He studied at the Atlanta School of Art (now called Savannah of Art and Design). After working at the Coca-Cola Company for more than twenty years, Tom held several creative positions with other global brands. He has illustrated many picture books, including 14 Cows for America, Seven and a Half Tons of Steel, and Countdown. He lives in Georgia.



“Elegant and informative, this is sure to attract casual browsers and true space nerds alike.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Captivating free-verse narrative…vivid mixed-media illustrations that stun with photographic realism and varied perspectives…this well-researched title offers a stirring introduction to one of humankind’s most impressive undertakings.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Stunning… Slade’s carefully crafted, often alliterative text, written in free verse, is both succinct and readable, drawing this large topic down to the most necessary and interesting facts with enough detail to excite young teens as well as adults who may have lived through the missions.… Truly out of this world. A must-buy for most poetry collections.” ―School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A grand…tale about a magnificent effort. A handsomely packaged look back at an epochal achievement.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“[A] book that will captivate and entertain young readers while educating them about an amazing decade of U.S. space exploration…In the 21st century, space travel goals aim much further away than the moon, but Countdown drives home how truly incredible the Apollo missions are in the history of mankind.” ―Shelf Awareness


Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2019

Parents’ Choice Gold Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2018

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 ―NSTA / CBC, 2019

Eureka! Gold Nonfiction Children’s Book Award ―California Reading Association, 2018

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book ―Chicago Public Library, 2018

Beehive Award (Poetry Nominee) ―Children’s Literature Association of Utah, 2020

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Starred, Junior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2019

Lectio Book Award (Master List) ―Lectio Book Award, 2019

Magnolia Book Award (Nominee, Grades 6-8) ―Mississippi Children’s Museum, MDE / MLA / MLC / USM, 2020

Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―South Dakota Library Association, South Dakota Reading Council, South Dakota State Library, South Dakota Elementary School Principals, 2020-2021


Resources: Discussion Guide, Other, Poster, Teacher's Guide, Videos & Trailers

Author Q&A
Teacher’s Guide
Discussion Guide

More Details

AR Level: 6.4
F&P: X, Gr 6, Genre I
Lexile: 940L
Themes: Exploration, Failure, Process, Space, Verse
BISAC 1: JNF051010 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Technology / Aeronautics, Astronautics & Space Science
BISAC 2: JNF025080 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Exploration & Discovery
BISAC 3: JNF025210 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / United States / 20th Century

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Books By Suzanne Slade