Tee Time on the Moon: How Astronaut Alan Shepard Played Lunar Golf

by David A Kelly (Author) Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Astronaut Alan Shepard's mission: Fly to the moon. Study it in more detail than ever before. Hit a golf ball in low gravity. But how far?

Find out in this engaging STEM/STEAM picture book. In 1971, Alan Shepard and his fellow astronauts made their way to the Moon in the cramped Apollo 14 capsule. Their mission: Study the moon in more detail than ever before. While the world watched on TV, Shepard and Edgar Mitchell gathered rock and soil samples wearing stiff, heavy spacesuits. But Alan Shepard had a secret hidden in his sock: two tiny golf balls. Golf was Shepard's favorite sport. And since the moon has virtually no atmosphere and gravity that is only a fraction of the Earth's, a golf ball should have been able to go far. But did it?

Here's the little-known but true story of an experiment that may have started as a stunt, but ended up making people think differently about the moon, ask questions, and look for answers.

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Kirkus Reviews

The author adds plenty of carefully researched detail to a story that is usually barely mentioned in histories, if at all, and, at the end, a very helpful overview of every Apollo mission and what it accomplished.


The extensive back matter briefly summarizes each Apollo moon mission as well as Shepard's career as an astronaut. A fresh approach to the history of space exploration.


Kelly's well-researched retelling of this unusual story...does a little fact-checking on Shepard, who...became the 'first human to play a sport on the Moon.' ­Fotheringham's digital art uses a limited color palette that gives the story a vintage feel.

Review quotes

"Tee Time on the Moon introduces readers to the thrill of the Apollo missions while inspiring them to see connections between our life on Earth and the exploration of the Moon and space. The book is engaging, informative, and an excellent distillation of the magic and innovation of the Apollo era."—Dr. Waleed Abdalati, former NASA Chief Scientist

"People have always been fascinated by the Moon. The Apollo missions only increased that fascination. When you add in a great astronaut who decides to play golf on the Moon, you have Tee Time on the Moon, a thriller that will keep young readers mesmerized. It is great to find a writer and artist who have created a book that engages students in science and technology."—Farouk El-Baz, secretary, Lunar Landing Site Selection Committee for the Apollo program

"David Kelly captures the adventure and playful spirit of Apollo 14 in this delightful retelling of Alan Shephard's journey to the Moon." —Teasel Muir-Harmony, Curator of the Apollo Collection, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
David A Kelly
David A. Kelly is a children's author best known for his book series Ballpark Mysteries and Most Valuable Player. He lives in West Newton, MA. Visit davidakellybooks.com.

Edwin Fotheringham is the award-winning illustrator of many picture-book biographies, including Blue Grass Boy, Eleanor Makes Her Mark, and Dazzlin' Dolly. He has also produced art for magazines, including The New Yorker and Ladies' Home Journal. Visit edfotheringham.com.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Calkins Creek Books
Publication date
July 25, 2023
BISAC categories
JNF051010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Technology | Aeronautics, Astronautics & Space Science
JNF051040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Astronomy
JNF054230 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Golf
Library of Congress categories

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