FICTION

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

with Winifred Conkling. illus. by Laura Freeman. 40p. chron. diags. glossary. HarperCollins/Harper. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062742469. POP
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K-Gr 2—Shetterly introduces young readers to the inspirational and groundbreaking stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, and their once-hidden contributions to science, aeronautics, and space exploration. Shetterly expertly puts these women's achievements in their historical context: segregation, blatant sexism and racism in the workplace, the civil rights movement, and the space race. Despite the challenges these women faced, they persisted, worked hard, and put a man on the moon. In this picture book take, the text, at times, reads a bit clinical and it's occasionally difficult to distinguish one woman's characteristics from another's while reading. This is remedied with the handy time line of short profiles in the back matter. Freeman's full-color illustrations are stunning and chock-full of details, incorporating diagrams, mathematical formulas, and space motifs throughout (including the women's clothing and jewelry), enhancing the whole book.
VERDICT An essential purchase for elementary school and public libraries.

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