Ziggy and his friends blast off to space camp in this freshly repackaged chapter book from bestselling author Sharon Draper!
Ziggy and his friends are excited to be going to Space Camp, where they’ll get to learn about weightlessness and how astronauts eat—and use the bathroom—in space! But Ziggy has another goal: he wants to meet some aliens. Purple, three-headed Martians, preferably, just like in his Mega Mighty Martian Blaster game. Once he gets to camp, Ziggy learns that real-life space travel is even more exciting than what he has imagined. But when a mysterious shiny stone appears, Ziggy can’t help but wonder if his dream of alien contact has just come true....
About the Author
Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. She has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire, and was most recently awarded the Charlotte Huck Award for Stella by Starlight. Her novel Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and was a New York Times bestseller for over three years. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Space Mission Adventure
By Sharon M. Draper
Aladdin LibraryCopyright © 2006 Sharon M. Draper
All right reserved.
Ziggy looked up at the night sky in amazement. The weather had been clear and cold, and thousands of stars decorated the inky blackness of the night. "Awesome, mon," Ziggy whispered to his friend Rico, who stood shivering beside him. "They look like shiny pieces of hard candy floating up there, don't they?"
Rico stamped his feet and blew into his gloves. Even though he had on new, fur-lined boots and a down jacket, he felt chilled. "It's cold out here, Ziggy. Let's go look at the stars from inside your house."
Ziggy stretched both his bare hands up to the sky. He wore no gloves, but he rarely took off his favorite hat, a fuzzy black, green, and yellow cap his mother had knit for him. "I feel like I could almost reach up there and pull a star out of the sky and bite it," Ziggy said with a laugh. "Let's go in, mon. You look like a chocolate Popsicle!"
The two friends hurried into the warmth of the house, where Ziggy's mom had mugs of hot chocolate waiting for them. "Thanks, Mrs. Colwin," Rico said as he sipped the warm drink. He was glad they weren't having a meeting of their club, the Black Dinosaurs, in their backyard clubhouse tonight. Ziggy, even though he had been born in the tropical climate of Jamaica, seemed to love the winter weather of Cincinnati, Ohio. Hehad wanted to meet as they had done all summer, but the chilly winter winds had chased the boys inside.
The doorbell rang, and Ziggy jumped up to answer it. "What's up, dudes?" Ziggy said in greeting to the other two members of the club, Rashawn and Jerome. "You want some hot chocolate?"
Rashawn, tall, thin, and always ready to go one-on-one at the basketball court, walked in wearing his favorite army boots and jacket. Jerome, shorter and stronger-looking, grinned at Ziggy, tossed off his leather jacket, and grabbed a mug of hot chocolate in each hand.
"It's really cold out there!" Jerome exclaimed as he sipped first from one mug, then the other.
"How you figure you get two cups of cocoa?" Rashawn asked.
"I'm tougher than the rest of you, so I need double the fuel!" he replied with a grin.
Rashawn took the last mug of chocolate, impressed that Ziggy's mom had known to make extra, and sipped it gratefully. "I just want to make sure I don't get the cup with the pickle in it!" He glanced at Ziggy, who, as usual, was stirring his chocolate with a thick green pickle.
"Why do you do that, man?" Rico asked, shaking his head.
"The pickle makes it taste better, mon. Besides, we were out of ketchup!" The other boys groaned, but they were used to Ziggy's strange food habits. The four of them had been friends since first grade.
"Did you bring your Space Camp stuff?" Rashawn asked the other boys.
"It's right here in my backpack," Rico answered, pulling out a folder of forms and instructions.
"This is going to be so cool!" Jerome and Ziggy pulled out their paperwork as well. "I can't wait to get to Space Camp, mon," Ziggy exclaimed as he sucked the chocolate off the pickle. "Wouldn't it be awesome to go into space for real?"
"Yeah," Jerome said. "I wonder what you have to do to be an astronaut."
"I never thought about it," Rashawn said. "But I suppose there's lots of training."
"You gotta learn how to read the instruments and fly the space shuttle," Rico offered. "And know what to do if you have to walk in space and fix something on the outside of the shuttle."
"I figure you need to practice what it feels like to be weightless so you don't throw up, mon!" Ziggy added.
"When we get to Space Camp, you practice that one by yourself -- okay, Ziggy?" Jerome laughed, held his nose, and moved to a chair away from Ziggy.
"Let's go over this stuff, so the Black Dinosaurs Space Team is ready," Rico said. "I can't believe my dad is taking us all the way to Huntsville, Alabama, for the weekend. I hope it's warmer there than it is here in Ohio!"
"Your dad is the bomb, mon," Ziggy exclaimed. "I know you only see him on vacations and stuff, but that is so cool that he's a pilot in the air force."
"Yeah, my dad really is all right," Rico replied. "He took me up in a jet last year on my birthday."
"Awesome!" Jerome said.
"Did you throw up?" Ziggy asked.
"Of course not! You focus on the strangest things, Ziggy." Rico shook his head.
"How long will it take to get there?" Rashawn asked.
"My dad says about seven hours by car. We go from Cincinnati, through Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, all the way down to Huntsville. But that's not counting stops at fast-food places or to see cool stuff," Rico told him.
"You think we can find our hometown chili dogs in Alabama?" Jerome asked. "Cincinnati makes the best chili in the world."
"You know, every city thinks its chili is the best," Rico replied with a grin.
"It's even better if you put jelly on your chili dogs, mon," Ziggy said cheerfully. "Gives them that extra-sweet flavor!"
"Yuck!" Jerome, Rashawn, and Rico all threw sofa pillows at Ziggy, who dodged them easily.
"So, what do we take with us besides bug spray?" Jerome asked as he glanced at the stacks of papers that Rico was handing each of them.
"There are no bugs in space, mon!" Ziggy said with authority, holding two of the sofa pillows on his lap.
"Yeah, but I bet there are plenty in Huntsville!" Jerome replied. "I take no chances, my man!"
"Let's see," Rico said, reading from the top page of the instructions. "Toothbrush and stuff, pajamas, socks, deodorant..."
"Don't forget that!" Rashawn said with a laugh.
"It also says not to bring portable music players or handheld video games," Rico continued.
"Not even my Mega Mighty Martian Blasters game?" Ziggy asked with dismay. "How will we practice dealing with invading Martian spacemen without that game?"
"Maybe we'll get real information instead of pretend video-game stuff," Rico replied sensibly.
"You mean it's not real? There aren't any Martians out there ready to attack Earth, mon?" Ziggy rolled off his chair and onto the floor, making zapping sounds like a space weapon.
"Probably not, Ziggy," Jerome told him. "But maybe you can ask somebody about it when we get there."
"If there's even just a possibility that Martian invaders might be real, I want to be ready, just in case. Martians are purple, have three heads, and spit fire, you know, unless they're in disguise. They can make themselves look like anything they want -- a cat, a dog, even an Earthling."
"How do you know this?" Rashawn asked him.
Ziggy looked at him with surprise. "Because I've played the game a million times, mon!"
Rico laughed. "What else did you learn from that game, Ziggy?"
"Martians live in trees and eat rocks, mostly. But they have a special fondness for chocolate-covered pickles, just like I do, so they can't be all bad!"
"I bet the folks at Space Camp don't know any of this," Jerome told Ziggy.
"Well, I'll be sure to tell them! I guess the future of the planet is going to depend on me, mon," Ziggy said. "I can't wait to get to Space Camp!"
Excerpted from The Space Mission Adventure by Sharon M. Draper Copyright © 2006 by Sharon M. Draper. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Space Mission Adventure, is book four of the Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs series. Stories in the series are based on the antics of Draper¿s own sons during adolescence. This story teaches children teamwork as Ziggy and all the other camp participants work together in a team to complete their simulated space mission. Draper uses Joan Higginbotham, a female African American NASA astronaut, as a role-model for one of the fictional characters. Draper includes excellent factual information about the Space Camp program as well as details about space training, space missions, and astronauts. In the Note to Readers, Draper tells about her own experiences as a participant at Space Camp. This transitional book is a great curriculum connection for the classroom. A study guide by chapter is available as well as additional activities for students and casual readers.