Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

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Annotation: Explores the previously uncelebrated but pivotal contributions of NASA's African American women mathematicians to America's space program, describing how Jim Crow laws segregated them despite their groundbreaking successes.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #170899
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Freeman, Laura
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-274246-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3090-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-274246-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3090-7
Dewey: 920
LCCN: 2017942901
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
With Winifred Cokling. A serviceable introduction to four African American women mathematicians who, despite discrimination, played vital roles for the U.S. in the 1960s space race. Although the illustrations are static, their rich, saturated colors provide interest. Shetterly's (author of the adult title, the basis for the movie) text barely scratches the surface of the women's stories, but she strives admirably to place their accomplishments within historical context. Timeline. Glos.
Kirkus Reviews
At a time when "colored" water fountains and separate bathrooms also meant that African-Americans were excluded from many good jobs, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden made themselves indispensable to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which became NASA in 1958. These four African-American trailblazing mathematicians worked as NASA computers before machines performed mathematical computations for the space program despite sexism and segregation that made their jobs extremely difficult. In one spread, Freeman uses the gutter to separate these four women from several white women, illustrating how the black and the white computers worked apart, used separate bathrooms, and ate in separate lunchrooms despite working on the same kinds of assignments. While Shetterly and co-author Conkling emphasize these women's tenacity, the picture-book lacks some aspects of their characters that the Hidden Figures film to which this is a companion captures well: their subversion, their senses of humor, and the community they built among black NASA employees as conditions improved. Their somber expressions throughout most of the illustrations imply that they found little enjoyment in their work, but their longevity at NASA suggests otherwise. Rich backmatter offers a timeline of historical events, biographies, a glossary, and an author's note from Shetterly.An important story to tell about four heroines, one that will lead young readers to the longer, more-nuanced coverage available when they are ready. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
Word Count: 2,144
Reading Level: 5.8
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 193339 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 980L

Based on the New York Times bestselling book and the Academy Award–nominated movie, author Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrator Laura Freeman bring the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers!

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good.

They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.

In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as "colored computers," and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.

"Finally, the extraordinary lives of four African American women who helped NASA put the first men in space is available for picture book readers," proclaims Brightly in their article "18 Must-Read Picture Books of 2018." "Will inspire girls and boys alike to love math, believe in themselves, and reach for the stars."


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