Homer Hickham Jr. wrote this book when he was a young boy.
This book is a science non-fiction, written based on a true story about Homer Hickam Jr.’s life. The story starts in around 1957. Homer Hickam Jr. is the main character of the story. He is a high school student living in Coalwood, West Virginia, a small, undeveloped town where most boys have a bleak future of mining to look forward to. One day, after seeing the Soviet Union launch the satellite Sputnik, Homer decides to make a change to his life by helping others build rockets when he graduates. He first attempted this by building a rocket on his own. He gathered his friends Quentin, O’Dell and Roy Lee and with the help of their science teacher Miss Riley, they started to gather materials and build a rocket in the basement of Homer’s house. They got help and support from many people from the town, such as Mr. Bykovski and Jake Mosby.
Mr. Bykovski is a worker from Homer’s father’s supply office, who supplied Homer and his friends with the materials they needed. Jake gave the boys some knowledge about rockets, along with suggestions about how they could improve. At the same time, they come across many obstacles. First, the townspeople humiliated them for having a dream that would never come true. Homer’s father, the principal of the high school, and others opposed them. Though they never gave up. One day, they were accused of setting a forest on fire by a lost rocket. Homer and his friends were very upset after hearing this. Their parents were ashamed of them. For a very long time there was no more advancement on rockets for the boys because Homer was expelled from school and had to work down in the mines to help his family meet ends.
It was about that time that Mr. Bykovski died in a coal shaft at the mine after being ordered down there by Homer’s father as punishment for helping Homer building his rockets. Homer felt very guilty, but after giving it a lot of thought, he decided that he did not belong in the mine, leading a futile life. After working diligently, he found out it was not possible for the rocket that the boys had created to have caused the fire in the woods and found the culprit to be a flare instead. For this, they were all relieved of blame. The principal of the school for the first time realized how intelligent Homer truly was and allowed him to reenroll, so that he could represent the school at the national science fair. Since only one person could go, the rocket boys decided Homer would be the best fit for the trip.
Once he was there, someone vandalized the display presenting the rockets Homer and the rocket boys had created, stealing most of the equipment. He had to phone home in order to get his father to end a strike and make new supplies. Their science project won the nationwide science fair, and all the rocket boys were given scholarships to attend college and escape the poor coalmining town like they had all wanted to. They had dreamed big and become successful, after overcoming many obstacles. Homer, after graduating college, became an engineer at NASA.
We enjoyed this book because it relates to the lives of normal people like us. It shows that with hard work and determination, dreams that seem impossible can be reached. The book was very interesting and dramatic, so it was easy to stay amused while reading it. All in all, it was a joy to read. Also, it was based on a true story which was nice as well, knowing that it wasn’t just made up, it actually happened. It proves that impossible things can happen not only just for people in books. We would recommend this story to anyone, especially students who have their sight and dreams set high, but can’t seem to reach their goals. This book could serve as the necessary inspiration for people to reach out and do amazing things, just like Homer, working hard to leave his sad life in a mining town to becoming an influential NASA rocket engineer.