Thursday, October 4, 2007

October Sky

"When I was a little girl like you,
I went up in Sputnik Number Two."

And so begins a poem I wrote almost 50 years ago. I don't remember the rest, but that doesn't matter.

October 6 is the 50-year anniversary of Sputnik and the beginning of a brilliant career for "Rocket Boy" Homer Hickam.

Anyone who has read the book, Rocket Boys, by Mr. Hickman, or seen the movie October Sky, and has not been moved by the dedication of teacher, Freida Riley, well, you can just skip over this blog. Had it not been for her persistence in pushing the Rocket Boys to continue, who knows whether they would've achieved their dreams. Thank you, Miss Riley.

Another interesting note: The movie title, October Sky, is an anagram of Rocket Boys!

Learn more about this year's October Sky Festival
All the Rocket Boys will be there!

Read more about Rocket Boys, and all of Homer Hickam's books.


Rob Walker said...

Excellent post on Hickam's October Sky. I taught it last year to high schoolers here in WV, and they love it; it catches hold of their lives and environs here so well. Hickam has gone on and streatched so far beyond the boundaries of what most WV kids believe possible. He's an inspiration and nowadays considered an elder statesman of letters here in West Virginia. Showed the film in class AFTER they read the book! Another great WV writer largely overlooked nowadays is the author of Night of the Hunter (made into a film by Charles Laughton starring Robert Mitichum as the serial killer). The book depicts rural West Virginia at an earlier time and is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird in many aspects.
The author's name is Davis Grubbs. Out of print as most great books are but I found a hastily got up new printing for my kids, and not a month later the county library system selected the title as the One Book program, One Read Book. Made me proud to be ahead of them!

Rob Walker

Mary Cunningham said...


Thanks for the post. You, also should make West Virginia proud! You're the kind of teacher that students remember for the rest of their lives.

In addition to Homer Hickam, I'll also look up Davis Grubbs. Thanks for the information on both authors.

And, I'm not surprised you're "ahead of the curve."