Monday, March 27, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Harper (Nov. 2016)
Narrative Nonfiction

What It's All About:

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Why You'll Love It:
  • In any context, these women’s contributions to science and aerospace technology would be impressive, but the obstacles imposed by the norms of their society make their achievements all the more impressive.
  • There's already lots of interest generated from the movie in theaters right now.
  • Shetterly's book offers up a crucial history that had previously and unforgivably been lost. We'd do well to put this book into the hands of young women who have long since been told that there's no room for them at the scientific table.
Who Should Read It:

Great for 5th-8th graders.

What Else You Should Read:

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