Tony Jenzano, Astronaut Trainer: The Man Who Made the Stars Shine

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781469659923.
Gr 2-5–Anthony Jenzano (1919–1997), a white American man born in Philadelphia, loved the stars. After serving in the Navy during World War II where he trained as an electrician, Jenzano was hired by the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, NC, to run and maintain the star projector. He eventually became the director. In 1958, NASA asked Jenzano to teach the Mercury 7 astronaut team how to navigate space and use the stars as guides to return to Earth when equipment malfunctioned. Gus Grissom, John Glenn, and Alan Shepard were among those who trained with Jenzano. On at least two occasions, astronauts implemented the knowledge they acquired from Jenzano, including James Lovell and the other members of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. This picture book biography provides solid information about a little-known participant in the United States space program, but the narrative is somewhat bland. Alexander’s colorful illustrations, many replicated from actual photographs, liven up the text. Those with a deep interest in the history of the space program may enjoy this title; it could be best used in a unit on space or as a nice complement to H.A. Rey’s Find the Constellations.
VERDICT Browsers may pass over this title about a lesser-known contributor to space exploration, but teachers will find it useful in the classroom.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing