Title: A Computer Called Katherine
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Veronica Miller Jamison
Published: March 12, 2019
Theme: Perseverance, Space, and Biography
Character Origin: Human
Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 40
Ages: 4-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure: —
Synopsis: Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn’t have the same rights as others–as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses–as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world’s first trip to the moon!
Award-winning author Suzanne Slade and debut artist Veronica Miller Jamison tell the story of a NASA “computer” in this smartly written, charmingly illustrated biography.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. The text was very informative and easy to read. I learned things that I didn’t know about Katherine Johnson. Her outstanding math abilities made her stand out in a male-dominated workplace and set her apart from the other “computers.” It is regretful that her astounding contributions were omitted from history books. As parents, we can’t rely on the schools to teach our kids everything. We have to do our part to teach them too.
Jamison’s illustrations were quite beautiful. I especially loved the watercolor. The illustrations captured the spirit of the texts in such a delicate way. The cover was eye-catching and was what initially drew me to the book. The text is so well written that you forget that you’re reading a biography. This is a book that I will be gifting to my nephew so that he knows that John Glenn wouldn’t have orbited the Earth had it not been for Katerine Johnson. I want HERstory to be a part of the history he learns.
If you’d like to learn more about Katherine Johnson (and others) check out Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margo Lee Shetterly.