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

Margot Lee Shetterly's bestselling adult book, Hidden Figures, is made accessible to young readers in this elegantly illustrated picture book.

In 1943, "Dorothy Vaughan wanted to serve her country by working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.... [S]ome people thought it would be impossible for her to get a job as a computer" because she was black. "But Dorothy didn't think it was impossible. She was good at math. Really good." In 1951, "Mary Jackson got a job as a computer at Langley," the agency's laboratory. Mary "wanted to become an engineer" and was also told it was "impossible" due to her race. "But Mary was good at math. Really good. And she refused to give up." In 1953, Katherine Johnson, "on a team that tested actual planes while they were flying in the air," wanted to "help the group prepare its research reports." Despite repeatedly being told no by her white, male supervisor, Katherine knew she "was good at math. Really good. And because she fought... she became the first woman in her group to sign her name to one of the group's reports." In 1967, Christine Darden wanted to become an engineer, "and thanks to Dorothy, Mary, and Katherine, she knew it was possible."

In Shetterly and Winifred Conkling's approachable text, the reader is introduced to these four hidden figures and given a broad look at the United States' history of segregation and the fight for civil rights. Laura Freeman's illustrations, whether depicting human figures or the vast expanse of space, are striking, featuring bold, fully saturated colors. Hidden Figures is a young readers' edition that feels as fresh as the original with a timeline, author's note and a "Meet the Computers" section to provide more information for those who want to go deeper. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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