October Sky, originally published as Rocket Boys, is Homer Hickam’s autobiographical story of his search of identity, purpose, and acceptance from his father. Founding ‘The Big Creek Missile Agency’, leader Homer sets off the first rocket, built from a flashlight tube filled with cherry bomb powder. The rocket does light up the sky over the backyard, but it also sets fire to a fence. The gang continues to experiment with different types of backyard rockets, employing steel delivery devices and various kinds of explosives. Other problems occur, such as when a rocket lands in the coal mine where Homer’s father is employed. The boys are warned to halt their experiments, but they feel that they simply must press on. As the BCMA continue their work, they learn how to calculate nozzle measurements and improve their designs, all the while growing up, with your typical teenage antics, in a coal town. Hickam’s maturation into adulthood, his dedicated perseverance, and desire to win his father’s approval, will inspire readers, who will be delighted to learn Hickam later became a NASA engineer, making his committed trajectory in his youth all the more poignant.