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Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr.

Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickam, Jr. (1998)
As a teenager, in October 1957 Hickam watched Sputnik travel across the night sky from his backyard in Coalwood, West Virginia. That night he decided he would learn how to build rockets and join the U.S. space race. Joined by like minded friends, the “rocket boys” launched not only homemade rockets, but dreams that took them beyond their tight knit community of Coalwood.

For more on Sputnik, visit The New York Times website created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sputnik. The site has the original 1957 articles from the newspaper, in addition to an interview with NASA's chief historian.

Homer Hickam's website has more about the book, including why he wrote it. You can also discover more about Coalwood and the original Rocket Boys. Check out for a review, excerpt, and discussion questions.

October Sky is the movie (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) based on Rocket Boys.
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