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  • Little, Brown Young Readers US

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon

Suzanne Slade

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Space (Children's / Teenage)

The inspiring story of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, an African-American woman who made major contributions to the field of space exploration (and was the subject of the hit movie Hidden Figures).

The inspiring story of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson (the subject of the hit movie Hidden Figures).

Katherine Johnson grew up during a time when women were not encouraged to excel in the fields of math and science, and when African-Americans were heavily discriminated against. But she was so good at math that she zoomed ahead of her elementary school classmates, attended a high school far away from home, and started college at age fourteen, taking difficult geometry classes taught just for her. She went on to become one of NASA's "computers who wore skirts," women who did calculations that helped the men engineers design flight plans and rockets.

Katherine wasn't like other women. She asked lots and lots of questions, and she didn't stay out of design meetings that were previously just for men. She was so good at her job that she was asked to double check the calculations of a machine computer. Katherine made important contributions to the first flight into space, the first orbit of the Earth, and the first trip to the moon--and back--breaking barriers for African Americans and women everywhere. Author Suzanne Slade brings Katherine's story to life in this smartly written picture book biography, illustrated by debut artist Veronica Miller Jamison.

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