Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician

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From award-winning author Lesa Cline-Ransome and acclaimed illustrator Raúl Colón comes the sensitive, informative, and inspiring picture book biography of the remarkable mathematician Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA “human computers” whose work was critical to the first US space launch.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or astronauts walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used their knowledge, pencils, adding machines, and writing paper to calculate the orbital mechanics needed to launch spacecraft.

Katherine Johnson was one of these mathematicians who used trajectories and complex equations to chart the space program. Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws were in place in the early 1950s, Katherine worked analyzing data at the NACA (later NASA) Langley laboratory.

In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, Katherine Johnson was called upon and John Glenn said “get the girl” (Katherine Johnson) to run the numbers by hand to chart the complexity of the orbital flight. He knew that his flight couldn’t work without her unique skills.

President Barack Obama awarded Katherine Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 and her incredible life inspired the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Get to know this incredible and inspirational woman with this beautifully illustrated picture book from an award-winning duo.---from the publisher

32 pages                          978-1534404755                                        Ages 5-9

Keywords:  biography, math, mathematics, space program, space, NASA, African American, women, African American author, diverse books, diversity, American history, heroines, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old. Science Curriculum, Mathematics Curriculum, Social Studies Curriculum Character Building Curriculum, courage, discrimination, racism, perseverance, determination

Read alike: Counting On Katherine by Helaine Becker

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