Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly with Winifred Conkling, illustrated by Laura Freeman

Published by HarperCollins

Summary:  In case you haven’t read the original book, the young readers’ edition, and/or seen the movie, this picture book tells the story of four women who worked for NASA between 1943 and 2007.  Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were all good at math.  Very good.  This refrain is repeated throughout the story, as each one is shown overcoming the barriers in place for them at school and later on at NASA.  But they succeeded, and their work helped launch the space program and eventually send men to the moon.  As they looked to their careers after that dream had been fulfilled, “Dorothy, Mary, Katherine, and Christine knew one thing: with hard work, perseverance, and a love of math, anything was possible.”  Includes a timeline, additional biographical information about each woman, a glossary, and an author’s note.  40 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  Many kids will recognize these women from the movies.  All are inspiring, and emphasize the importance of hard work and the exciting adventures to be found in STEM careers.  Laura Freeman illustrated Fancy Party Gowns, one of my favorite biographies of last year, and does an excellent job here portraying the four women, NASA, and outer space.

Cons:  The story of Christine Darden (who wasn’t portrayed in the movie) didn’t seem as well integrated to the rest of the book as the other three.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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