|Reaching for the Moon : the autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson
Author: Johnson, Katherine G.
The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 7.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 504200
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 9.30
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 77239
Kirkus Reviews (+) (05/15/19)
School Library Journal (+) (00/07/19)
The Hornbook (00/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2019 Johnson, the groundbreaking NASA mathematician who was featured in the book and movie Hidden Figures, tells her own story in this middle-grade autobiography. The book, featuring many photos, spans from her childhood through the 1969 moon landing, with follow-up on her family members from that point forward. Johnson contextualizes her journey with information about Jim Crow laws, the education and training of African American teachers, and segregated schooling. Her loose narrative style feels conversational, which will draw in readers, and an interesting afterword compares the movie Hidden Figures to her actual experience. While filled with fascinating tidbits about space research and featuring a time line of space travel, much of the book focuses on Johnson's family life—there could have been even more emphasis on her life inside NASA—interpersonal dynamics, intricacies of research, and challenges faced—as readers will also seek that detail. Johnson has had a tremendous life, and with her recent pop-culture representation, as well as the overall popularity of STEM, kids will be excited to learn more about her journey. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2019 Gr 5 Up—From a very young age, Johnson excelled as a student. Despite growing up in a time of extreme racism and sexism, Johnson not only persevered—she flourished. She surpassed her older siblings in grade level, math courses were created for her because she was not challenged enough, and she graduated from West Virginia State at the age of 18 with a degree in mathematics and French. Her first job out of college was as a schoolteacher. She went on to work at and retire from NASA as a mathematician. This autobiography chronicles her personal life, from growing up in a tight-knit family of six to having three children of her own, as well as her professional accomplishments and her career at NASA. Johnson's story is captivating, informative, and inspiring. She neatly and accurately weaves in significant historical events that had profound effects on our country and the African American community, including the murder of Emmett Till, lunch counter sit-ins, and school integration. Larger ideas such as white supremacy are broken down with ease for younger readers. VERDICT While the chapters are a little lengthy for the intended audience, Johnson's story is easy to follow and hard to put down. Highly recommended for purchase in any school library.—Melissa Lambert, Trenton Public Schools, MI - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.