The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa – written by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley, and published in 2019 -explores the incredibly inspiring life of Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina woman in space, and the first Latinx director of a space center!

When you’re finished reading The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars, ask kids these comprehension questions:

  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa faced rejection several times during her career. Describe two of the instances when she heard “no” but kept on going.
  • What did Ellen have to do in order to play her flute in space?
  • Ellen’s family experienced racism due to their Latinx heritage. What happened to Ellen’s father when he was young, and how did it make him feel? How does it make you feel as a person reading about it?

There is so much we can learn from Dr. Ellen Ochoa, and our Rosie Reads activity focuses on her love for both STEM and art! While she eventually became an engineer and astronaut, she’s also an accomplished flautist and dreamed of playing professionally as a child. Using Ellen’s flute playing in space as inspiration, have kids design a machine or invention that combines scientific principles with music. What would their invention do? What problem would it solve? What would it look like? Make sure kids draw a picture of their design, and if you’re in a classroom setting, have each student present their invention to the class and field questions about it!

Can’t get enough of Dr. Ellen Ochoa? We can’t either, so we created a Dr. Ellen Ochoa costume! It’s perfect for the dress-up box or Halloween, and super easy to put together!