Clayton Anderson was at a bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska, when the ambush happened. “The manager of the store insisted that I come to the children’s book area,” the retired astronaut recalled. Anderson was meant to be signing copies of The Ordinary Spaceman: From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut (University of Nebraska Press, 2015), a memoir about the 152 days he spent living and working aboard the International Space Station. But the store manager—a “lovely lady named Marcia Jussel,” he told Space.com—had other ideas.
“She kept telling me to write a children’s book, to which I hemmed and hawed a bit,” Anderson said. “She continued to insist, becoming even more specific, saying, ‘You need to write A is for Astronaut!”