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Kimberly Novak reviews a true story that will fascinate young children who are interested in science—and adults as well!

Get ready to blast off as author Cecilia Cicone and illustrator Gabhor Utomo bring the journey of Catholic astronaut Tom Jones to life. Jesus in Space: A True Story That’s Out of This World is an account of the Tom and his crewmates' experience on the shuttle Endeavor. 




Written specifically for young explorers, Jesus in Space prayerfully engages the reader from the beginning of the mission assignment to Endeavor’s return to the California desert. Not only are the critical points of the mission described as footnotes for the space enthusiast, but Cecilia also brings to light the essential aspects of Tom’s Catholic faith throughout his journey.  

Jesus in Space highlights Catholic virtues such as using God’s gifts to help people, always thanking Jesus for the opportunity, and acknowledging God is always with you, to name a few.  

Wherever you go, and whatever you do, God will be going with you. 



Jesus in Space interior 2


Cecilia’s focus on Tom’s story centers around the importance of the Eucharist and what it means to Tom to bring God with him on his mission in this manner. The mention of the mission lasting nine days gives a reference point to the reader that Tom will miss the opportunity to receive the Eucharist at his regular mass.   

Lucky for Tom, his friend Kevin is a Eucharistic Minister and arranges to bring the blessed Eucharist on the mission. The meaning of a Eucharistic Minister and what the ministry entails are described perfectly for the intended reading level.  The description of the crew receiving Jesus is portrayed beautifully and easily understood. 

Also heartfelt is the mention of Tom peering out the shuttle’s window toward Earth, thinking about his family, who had received Jesus at Mass.  

As Tom was praying, he floated over to a window. He saw the Earth, big, beautiful, and filling half the sky in the window. 


I loved the excellent full-page color illustrations in which Gabhor Utomo brilliantly captured the essence of being inside the shuttle Endeavor. Coupled with the detailed explanation of Endeavor’s mission, the role of Tom and his crewmates, Jesus in Space is an informative account of a Catholic Astronaut’s experience on a NASA space mission.  

Following the story is a note from Tom on the importance of receiving Communion at Mass and always taking Jesus along in your heart. There are various photographs of the Endeavor crew, and specific places they could see from the space shuttle.   

I especially love the “More to Know…” section, which goes deeper into the topic of the Eucharist—touching on points from knowing that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus, storing the Eucharist, and the meaning of Adoration.  

Jesus in Space is a beautiful addition to the library of a young and adventurous reader, highlighting the importance of an astronaut’s mission while encouraging the reader to include God and family in their endeavors.  

Ask for Jesus in Space at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Pauline Books & Media.




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