Review: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race

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Title: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
Author: Rebecca Rissman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Capstone
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tells the gripping story of four female African-American mathematicians who literally made it possible to launch US rockets–and astronauts–into space. Tells the thrilling tale of how each woman contributed, the struggles and resistance each experienced, and the amazing results. Consultants currently work for NASA.

Review:

This book is about the African-American women who worked at NASA. It’s a lot like the book and movie Hidden Figures but written for children.

There are many reasons this book is important for children, particularly girls of colour, to read this book. These women demonstrate how important women were to the work of NASA. They worked behind the scenes, so they were not the focal point of the news stories. Everyone can picture the white male astronauts who landed on the moon, but not the black women who did the math and science that made it possible for them to do it. It’s important for young children to be able to see themselves in historical figures.

This story also highlights the importance of math and science in the days before computers. The job titles for these women was “computer” before there were machines of the same name. Often today, children don’t understand the point of learning math when they can just do the same computations on their cell phones in seconds. But it’s important to know how to do these things, because sometimes even the computers can be wrong.

This book is nonfiction but each chapter reads like a short story narrative about the women who worked at NASA. This will make the story accessible and entertaining for young readers.

I highly recommend this book for young readers!

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