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Children's Nonfiction Astronomy

Go For Liftoff!

How to train like an astronaut

by (author) Dave Williams & Loredana Cunti

illustrated by Theo Krynauw

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
Astronomy, Aviation, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Recommended Age
7 to 11
Recommended Grade
2 to 5
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2017
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Find out what it takes to become an astronaut—from someone who knows! How many kids aspire to become an astronaut one day? Wouldn’t it be great to float in space and do neat experiments? But before all the “fun” begins, it takes an incredible amount of hard work to prepare oneself for the ride of a lifetime. Before they are sent to space, astronauts have to go through spacecraft systems training, wilderness training, underwater training, roller coaster–like flight training, and teamwork training, not to mention science, technology, medical, engineering, and math training. Training for flight also depends on being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally, having the right attitude and learning to deal with problems calmly. Dr. Dave speaks from experience when he describes what it’s like to live underwater for weeks at a time, experience free-floating in micro gravity in the “Vomit Comet,” or catch and eat bugs during wilderness training. With its first-hand photos and amusing illustrations, Go for Lift Off is the go-to book for aspiring astronauts.

About the authors

Dr. Dave Williams is an astronaut, aquanaut, jet pilot, ER doctor, scientist, and CEO. The former Director of Space & Life Sciences at NASA, he has flown to space twice, once on the space shuttle Columbia and once on Endeavor, logging over thirteen million kilometres in space and over seventeen hours of spacewalks. He has lived and worked on the world’s only undersea research habitat and is the recipient of five honourary degrees, the Order of Canada, and the Order of Ontario. Williams lives in Oakville with his wife, Cathy, two kids, Evan and Olivia, and nephew, Theo. Connect with him on Twitter @AstroDaveMD.


Dave Williams' profile page

Loredana Cunti specializes in children's entertainment, a former Senior VP of Children's Programming at Universal Pictures and a Cordon Bleu Pastry Chef. Loredana has developed book-based characters for TV including Geronimo Stilton and the Pink Panther. To Burp or Not to Burp is her first book. She lives in Toronto, ON, Canada.

Loredana Cunti's profile page

Theo Krynauw is a freelance illustrator whose work includes hand drawn illustration for editorial, textbook and children's publications. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

Theo Krynauw's profile page


  • Joint winner, Top Ten Best Bet, Ontario Library Association
  • Long-listed, American Association for the Advancement of Science SB&F Prize nomination
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

Praise for To Burp or Not to Burp "To Burp or Not to Burp is a must-read for those future space explorers and kids curious about how the human body works in space." —Captain Scott Kelly USN (Ret)Former NASA Astronaut

"Kids, teachers and parents will love Dr. Dave’s wonderful book. It tells it like it is!" —Barbara Morgan (Ret)Former NASA Astronaut

“This pleasing look at what qualities it takes to be an astronaut will be useful for lessons on space, careers, goal setting, and the value of determination.”

School Library Journal, 04/12

“An upbeat, colorful introduction to astronaut training.”

Booklist, 04/01/17

Other titles by Dave Williams

Other titles by Loredana Cunti

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