Project Description


Rocket Man

The Mercury Adventure of John Glenn

by Ruth Ashby
illustrated by Robert Hunt

A first-rate biography and true adventure story for young readers about one of modern America’s greatest heroes and his contributions to our nation’s fledgling space program.

On February 20, 1962, as millions of Americans waited anxiously, astronaut John Glenn blasted off in his rocket ship, Friendship 7, and became the first American to orbit the Earth. Although the risks of such a mission were well known, neither they—nor Glenn—knew the peril he was about to encounter.

John Glenn was one of the Mercury 7 astronauts, the early pioneers of manned space flight portrayed in the film The Right Stuff. His historic flight followed years of intensive physical training—and a devotion to the pursuit of a career in the exciting but risk-filled world of aviation.

Ruth Ashby’s dramatic story of John Glenn’s near-disastrous mission in Friendship 7 also takes young readers through his small-town Ohio boyhood, his extraordinary experiences as a fighter pilot in two wars, and his life as an astronaut in the prestigious and dangerous Mercury 7 program. The book concludes with Glenn’s successful career as a U.S. senator and his triumphant return to space in 1998 at the age of 77.

Throughout, Ashby demonstrates how Glenn’s love of flying and his steadfast commitment to both his family and the realization of his full potential was the foundation of all the great things he accomplished in his life.

Hardcover: $12.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-323-8
Total Pages: 144
Size: 5 x 7
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-745-8
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 80430
AR Reading Level: 6.1
AR Points: 3

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: T
F&P Grade: 5

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 4.6
Reading Counts Points: 7
Reading Counts Interest Level: 6-8


“…highly readable… Ashby also skillfully includes historical events in the narrative.” ―School Library Journal

“This is a must-read for its historical perspective on the space program as well as its inspirational story.” ―Science and Children

“An excellent book because it is informative, keeps the reader’s attention, and shows the persistence of a true hero. The author, Ruth Ashby has drawn from a notable circle of information including Glenn’s own memoir.” ―ACS Readers Haven blog


Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 ―NSTA/CBC 2005

Volunteer State Book Awards (master list, 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2007-2008

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association 2005

NSTA Recommends ―National Science Teachers Association

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Meet the Author

Ruth Ashby is the award-winning author of dozens of nonfiction and fiction books for juvenile readers. She lives in New York.

Meet the Illustrator

Robert Hunt received a BA from the University of California and an MA from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. His work has appeared on the covers of books by many leading authors and has received numerous awards, including ten gold medals from the San Francisco Society of Illustrators. He lives in California.