This book is featured in our Shoot for the Moon collection, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Visit to see more of the best on all things astronautical.
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, this 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.
A Christy Ottaviano Book
About the Author
Helaine Becker is the author of many books for children and young readers, including A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, Dashing Through the Snow, Worms for Breakfast, and How to Survive Absolutely Anything.
About the Illustrator
Dow Phumiruk is the illustrator of Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines. She is 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.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
An NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
A NCTM Mathical Honor Book
An NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
An ILA Notable Book for a Global Society
An ILA Teachers' Choices Reading List Selection
An Amelia Bloomer List Selection
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Vermont Red Clover Award Master List Selection
A Morning Calm Medal Nominee
A Towner Award Nominee
"A picture-book biography of a humble genius who excelled in a career once out of reach for most African-Americans. An excellent biography that will inspire young readers, especially girls, to do what they love."--Kirkus, starred review
"Children who want to share in the Hidden Figures buzz can start right here . . . Phumiruk's digital artwork convincingly portrays Johnson as brainy and imaginative. This title is ready made for "My Hero" biography reports."--The Bulletin
"Featuring engaging text and captivating illustrations, this picture book introduces the amazing life of mathematician Katherine Johnson to young readers. Sure to inspire a new generation of mathematicians. A solid addition to biography collections."--School Library Journal
"The straightforward, informative text is paired with delicate, precise digital artwork. . . Very worthwhile book."--Booklist
"Phumiruk works in a crisp, uncluttered art style, infusing emotionality into more private moments of reflection."--Publishers Weekly