Hello, friends! Our book tonight is the wonderful Hidden Figures: The True Story Of Four Black Women And The Space Race, written by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling and illustrated by Laura Freeman.
Based on Shetterly’s book of the same name, Hidden Figures examines the contributions of four remarkable women of color to the space and aeronautics industry from WWII to the height of the space race. Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Johnson were all good at math… VERY good. And math is what the government needs to build planes, then rockets, then craft capable of safely carrying and returning men to space. However, all four live in a time in which women, especially black women, are held back by racist and sexist laws and conventions. But these women knew that they had valuable gifts, so they fought, studied, and persisted to have their work recognized for the indispensable contribution it was. They and many other computers used their brilliance to further the space program and helped NASA touch the stars.
Anyone who’s familiar with the original book or the movie it was based on knows what a fantastic story this is. The women of Hidden Figures are remarkable, both in their natural intellect and the fortitude they showed in fighting for advancement and recognition, and this book does a good job of editing their stories down for young readers. Focusing on both their scientific and civil rights contributions, as well as giving an idea of the limitations black women faced at that time, it manages to tell a concise yet compelling story spread out over nearly 30 years. The illustrations are fabulous, staying grounded in reality yet adding just a touch of artistic flair to drive vital points home. The length is best for slightly older readers, though JJ made it through fine. A knockout that celebrates science, women, and people of color and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!