The First Men Who Went to the Moon

Cover: The First Men Who Went to the Moon

2020 New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award Master List

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the nation: land astronauts on the moon by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was designed by NASA to meet that challenge, and on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin. Apollo 11's prime mission objective: "Perform a manned lunar landing and return." Four days after take-off, the Lunar Module "Eagle," carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the Command Module "Columbia," and descended to the moon. Armstrong reported back to Houston's Command Center, "The Eagle has landed." America and the world watched in wonder and awe as a new chapter in space exploration opened. Through verse and informational text, author Rhonda Gowler Greene celebrates Apollo 11's historic moon landing.



  • Dewey: 629.45/4/0973
  • Graphics: Full-color illustrations
  • Hardcover (9781585364121): 32 pages, 11 (w) x 9 (h), © 2019, 03/15/2019
  • PDF (9781534138360): 32 pages, 11 (w) x 9 (h), © 2019, 03/15/2019
  • Hosted ebook (9781534138506): 32 pages, 11 (w) x 9 (h), © 2019, 03/15/2019
  • Subject: Language Arts, Science & Technology


  • Suggested Interest Level: Age 6 - Age 9
  • Suggested Reading Level: Grade 2
  • Lexile® Measure: 970
  • Guided Reading Level: Q
  • Accelerated Reader® Quiz: Pending

BISAC Subjects


  • 2020 New York State Charlotte Award, Nominated


Publisher's Weekly - The First Men Who Went to the Moon

Writing in quiet verse reminiscent of “This Is the House that Jack Built,” Greene tells the story of Apollo 11, which “lifted off and soared through the heavens/ and carried the first men who went to the Moon.” Each spread also includes factual and historical details: “While on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin set up scientific equipment, took photographs, gathered rock and soil samples, and planted an American flag.” Brundage’s striking illustrations depict the craft’s ascension and views through the vessel’s window of Earth and of the moon, “a desolate land in the darkness of space.” Greene and Brundage provide social and historical context for the mission, while the naturalistic images capture the awe-inspiring magnitude of the moon landing.

Kirkus Reviews - The First Men Who Went to the Moon

The rhymed lines are fully cumulated only once, so there is some repetition but never enough to grow monotonous…. A visually effective and a serviceable addition to the rapidly growing shelf of tributes to our space program’s high-water mark.


Author: Rhonda Gowler Greene

Rhonda Gowler Greene is the author of more than twenty-five children’s books. Among other honors, her books have been named a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book, an ILA Children’s Choice Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book. Rhonda remembers watching the first lunar landing on live television. “It was hard to comprehend that humans were walking on the Moon, but to actually see it happening? Amazing. I’ll never forget that night, sitting in front of our black-and-white TV, watching two brave astronauts walking and hopping on the surface of the Moon.” A former elementary school teacher, Rhonda lives in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Learn more at

Illustrator: Scott Brundage

An illustrator and character designer, Scott Brundage lives in New York City. As a child, his parents rightly decided he was far too indoorsy for his own health, and encouraged him to try various hobbies. When T-ball’s rules confused him and judo required too much coordination, he found his love for drawing cartoons at a local art class. Scott has sketched and painted ever since, eventually attending the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As a freelancer, his work has been recognized by American Illustration, SILA, and the Society of Illustrators. His illustrations have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, the Washington Post, and other publications. His clients include Tor Books, AARP, CBS, and Showtime. He also illustrated A is for Astronaut: Blasting Through the Alphabet. His work can be found at