Parents' Guide to

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Picture book intro to important, inspirational story.

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race Poster Image

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This wildly inspirational story of four African American women who excelled in STEM careers deserves to be shouted from the rooftops, and this picture book brings it to young readers. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race covers a lot of ground, packing a lot into its few pages. Author Margot Lee Shetterly worked with Winifred Conkling, author of numerous nonfiction picture books, to present simple explanations of complicated historical events and scientific concepts. For instance, to explain segregation, the book says, "She lived in Virginia, a southern state, where laws segregated, or kept apart, black people and white people." It then lists concrete examples: "They could not eat in the same restaurants. They could not drink from the same water fountains." With similar clear and simple language, one woman becomes an engineer designing "supersonic airplanes -- planes flying faster than the speed of sound." And threading the women's stories together is the refrain that each one "was good at math. Really good."

The colorful illustrations by Laura Freeman make the compelling, human story come to life. The women look real in a way that will help kids relate. The art is evocative and emotionally exciting, playing on the inherent drama of the civil rights marches and the excitement of sending humans into space.

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