From Falling Out of Trees to Standing on the Moon — New Book Inspires Kids with Neil Armstrong's Story

"I am Neil Armstrong" by Brad Meltzer
"I am Neil Armstrong" by Brad Meltzer. (Image credit: Penguin Young Readers)

In "I Am Neil Armstrong," a new children's book detailing Armstrong's life, author Brad Meltzer shows readers how an eager young tree climber got all the way to the moon. 

It would be hard to find someone who doesn't know the name Neil Armstrong. He was the first person to ever set foot on the moon — a "reluctant American hero" who captured the world's attention alongside fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in NASA's Apollo 11 mission. But Armstrong's life story, his journey from curious child to beloved astronaut, isn't as well-known.

This book, released Sept. 11, is part of an extensive series of biography books by Meltzer, who is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author and host on the History channel. This book gives kids a comprehensive, fun look at the lives of everyone from Armstrong to Harriet Tubman, Jane Goodall and Martin Luther King Jr. [Photos: Neil Armstrong, American Icon Remembered]

Neil Armstrong stands for a formal portrait. Armstrong, the "reluctant American hero" was the first human to ever set foot on the surface of the moon. In "I Am Neil Armstrong," a new children's book, Armstrong's story aims to inspire young people to work hard and get back up when they fall. (Image credit: NASA)

In his book about Armstrong, Meltzer starts at the beginning. He opens with Armstrong as a young child in Ohio, climbing a silver maple tree, eager to get to the top. Grabbing a dead branch, the young Armstrong falls to the ground. But, as the book says, while Armstrong was devastated by the fall, "he does the most important thing of all. He gets back up,." Meltzer told

"You realize that the greatest legacy is not the giant leap for all mankind, but it's the only reason he gets to take that giant leap are the thousands of smaller steps he took to get there," Meltzer told

Meltzer wants young readers to walk away from this book knowing a little bit more about Armstrong's story, and he also hopes that they will be inspired by his hard work and the many difficult steps he actually took to get to the moon.

"I Am Neil Armstrong" shows kids what it means to be an engineer, what it means to fall and get back up again and so much more. "This book isn't about just going to the moon," Meltzer told to

"I Am Neil Armstrong" by Brad Meltzer is available for purchase on

Email Chelsea Gohd at or follow her @chelsea_gohd. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.