A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Introduction to inspiring story of Dr. Mae Jemison, first African American female astronaut. Some info in back about Mae's education at Stanford University and Cornell Medical College, and her travel on the Endeavor.
"If you can dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible." Even when others doubt you, you can hold onto your dream.
Positive Role Models
Mae has a dream of a career as an astronaut, unusual for an African American girl at the time she grew up; she pursues her dream even when her teacher and peers doubt her and laugh at her. Mae's parents encourage her and are always supportive of her interests. Mae achieves her dream of being the first African American female astronaut.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrated by Stasia Burrington, is a picture book biography of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut. Since the book is spare, without much concrete information about her life or her path, it's best for the youngest kids, who'll come away with the simple and clear message that when she was young, Dr. Jemison had a dream of what she wanted to do, and her parents encouraged her, even when peers scoffed and her teacher tried to redirect her. A very short afterword gives a bit more information about Jemison's impressive scholarship and accomplishments.
Is It Any Good?
A biography of an African American woman who triumphed in a STEM field is always welcome, though this picture book about astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison could have had a bit more substance. Mae Among the Stars focuses on Jemison's childhood, when "Little Mae was a dreamer" and got the idea that she wanted to see Earth from space. Her mom takes her to the library where she "searched for books about space and astronauts," and Mae makes an "astronaut costume out of old orange curtains and cardboard boxes." These details help bring young Mae alive for the reader. When she asks her dad, "But how do I become an astronaut?" he answers, "If you can dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible." This refrain, strong on emotional encouragement but light on specifics, is repeated throughout by her supportive parents.
The art by Stasia Burrington is cute and appealing, though somewhat generic, making this portrait of a smart, determined, science-minded girl and her supportive family best for the very young.
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