cover image Finding Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life

Finding Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life

Mae Jemison, Mae Jamison, Dr Mae Jemison. Scholastic Press, $16.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-439-13195-7

In an accessible, conversational tone, first-time children's author Jemison offers insight into her remarkable life, from her announcement in kindergarten, in 1961, that she wanted ""to be a scientist"" to her realization of her dream as ""the first woman of color in the world to travel into space."" Jemison observes, ""I'm struck by how the flow of life events is like the wind,"" and, as if sitting on a stoop, she gathers readers in as she recounts the ""large, small and medium-sized moments that have carried me aloft to this place, this day."" At times, the wind metaphor becomes overblown, and a few digressions lead the narrative astray (e.g., a passage about being hit on the head by a sibling; a brief treatise directed at readers, ""Take the high school and college romance, boy/girl stuff, with a huge grain of salt...""). But the writing sings, for example, when Jemison recalls her blossoming interest in science, relating her work on a third grade report about ""the evolution of life on planet Earth"" and a high school sickle-cell anemia project (students could almost follow the process she outlines here as a blueprint for their own science fair projects). Another standout section is her account of a high school gang's attempt to draft her older brother; her parents' response to the situation, which speaks volumes about their unwavering commitment to their family and education, clearly influenced the author. Some readers may wish for more of the defining moments that made Jemison a hero. (The author glosses over her jump from the Peace Corps to NASA, for instance.) However, this inspiring autobiography is a testimony to the power of setting goals and the strength of character necessary to achieve them. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)