Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician

Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by Raúl Colón. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0475-5
Cline-Ransome’s picture book biography pays tribute to African-American math prodigy Katherine Johnson, who soared past societal barriers to become one of NASA’s celebrated human computers. In long text blocks, the narrative underlines Johnson’s mathematical prowess and natural inquisitiveness (“Why? What? How?”), focusing on her early life (counting stars, skipping grades, earning a full college scholarship at 15), marriage and parenthood, and her career at Langley (early assignments, work amid the space race, persuading higher-ups that she should attend meetings) up through calculating the trajectory of astronaut John Glenn’s 1962 Earth orbit. Colón’s trademark illustrations, with their combed-through textures, set Johnson apart visually; her rainbow-hued dresses radiate alongside her white male colleagues’ white apparel. An author’s note concludes this handsomely illustrated book about a Hidden Figures standout. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/22/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Children's
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