Hidden Women // by Rebecca Rissman
Genre: MG, Non-Fiction (ages 8-12)
Release Date: February 2018
My Rating: 4 Stars*
*Note: I received a copy of this title from the people at NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Basic Plot: This is a non-fiction book about the African-American women who did the math that launched rockets into space… From Katherine Johnson to Dorothy Vaughan to Mary Jackson to Miriam Mann and others.
1) Each chapter deals with one of the women who worked at NASA during the years of the Space Race. It was a nice way to organize the information. For the most part, Rissman tells one main story per woman. For example, Katherine Johnson’s story is that of John Glenn insisting that they “get the girl to run the numbers” before he is launched into space. He knew he could trust HER where he didn’t know what to think of this new IBM computer contraption.
2) There’s a nice balance of NASA history interspersed with the history of desegregation. Again, Rissman chooses a vignette to illustrate. The story she uses is that of Miriam Mann’s quiet defiance against segregation in the cafeteria.
3) I thought Rissman did a nice job explaining the high (and low) points of the Space Race. I actually learned some things I didn’t know before.
4) I like the pictures scattered throughout the book. And the graphics that incorporate the math and physics involved in rocket science are nicely done. We get to see old photographs of the women who worked at NASA, alongside photos of the rockets and astronauts they helped launch into space.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) Sorry, but I am NOT crazy about the title of this book. It certainly invokes the book Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. But that title IS clever. I’m guessing that since this book is for kids, they decided to go with a title that is more on-the-nose. Which is okay. It’s just not great.
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I thought this was a nice dive into the history of these women at NASA. For ages 8-12, it’d be a great resource for any classroom!