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Counting on Katherine
2018
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A picture book introduction to the boundary-breaking mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race and was depicted in the film Hidden Figures describes how a numbers-loving young Katherine Johnson became an American icon who calculated the course of moon landings and was integral in saving lives during the Apollo 13 mission. - (Baker & Taylor)

An introduction to the boundary-breaking mathematician, Katherine Johnson, reveals how her love of mathematics started at a young age led her to a job at NASA where she calculated the course of moon landings and helped sace the Apollo 13 mission. - (Baker & Taylor)

The bold story of Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the space race and was depicted in the film Hidden Figures.

You've likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home?

As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe.

From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history.

Christy Ottaviano Books

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

Helaine Becker is the author of more than 70 award-winning books for children including You Can Read, Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo, Monster Science and Counting on Katherine. She loves science, books and ice cream, but not necessarily in that order.

Dow Phumiruk
is a general pediatrician with a passion for art. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three girls. When she is not teaching medical students or drawing, she can be found hiking on the trails near her home. Maya Lin is her picture book debut.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

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Booklist Reviews

This picture-book biography introduces Katherine Johnson as a curious child who loves to count. She skips three grades, starts high school early, and later becomes a teacher. After hearing that the space program is hiring black women as mathematicians, she begins a new career. Johnson, who earns a reputation for accuracy, imagination, and leadership, makes significant contributions to important Mercury and Apollo missions, including the Apollo 11 moon landing and the challenging Apollo 13 spaceflight. The book's back matter offers more biographical facts and a list of sources, including a personal interview with Johnson in 2015. The straightforward, informative text is paired with delicate, precise digital artwork. Though in some scenes the characters look rather static and similar to one another, the illustrations are effective in creating the settings, illustrating events, and demonstrating concepts. This very worthwhile book closes with a memorable image of Johnson standing alone, encircled by sweeping flight paths and formulas, which connect her visually with the enormous moon that fills her view of the night sky. Grades K-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 1–3—-Featuring engaging text and captivating illustrations, this picture book introduces the amazing life of mathematician Katherine Johnson to young readers. Becker captures the drive and determination of Johnson through well-written text and a few puns; for instance, the phrase "You can count on me" is repeated by Johnson and once by her father. The narrative details both Johnson's joyful childhood and her fury at segregated public schools; however, in discussing the challenges Johnson faced at NASA, Becker mainly focuses on sexism. The text doesn't mention segregation at NASA, but it is portrayed in the illustrations. Becker compellingly conveys Johnson's reputation for accuracy and her critical leadership role supporting many NASA programs, including Friendship 7, Apollo 11, Apollo 12, and Apollo 13. John Glenn would not fly until Johnson had signed off on the numbers for his trip. Phumiruk's renderings help to elucidate scientific principles and bring the story to life. In addition, the images of blackboards teeming with mathematical equations that appear on the endpapers add to the book's appeal. The work concludes with additional in-depth information about Johnson's life along with a list of sources. VERDICT Sure to inspire a new generation of mathematicians. A solid addition to biography collections.—Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

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