The First NASA "Computers"
The Bear is a huge fan of non-fiction picture books. He has this insatiable thirst for knowledge so one of my favourite things to do is pick out some great biographies of strong women from the library and just leave them where he can see them to see if they peak his interest. Ninety percent of the time he can’t resist picking them up. We have read about Viola Desmond, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, and Amelia Earhart in the past. The newest biography we have added to the list is Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk, published by Henry Holt and Company
I have always been fascinated by space travel, never wanting to go myself but the idea of people being able to go to the moon has always struck me with awe. Now to know there was an incredible contingent of intelligent, capable and strong women behind many of NASA’s first missions I am even more impressed and filled with wonder. It’s such a beautiful thing to see a child be so interested in a story and have all the correct information at their fingertips. Katherine Johnson is a hero; she’s a symbol of all that can be accomplished through perseverance and hard work. Most importantly Counting on Katherine is an incredibly important book so that even the youngest children can learn about the accomplishments of these mighty women, so they can dream and imagine a life for themselves thanks to the pioneering of some pretty incredible women. I think it’s not only important for young girls and women to hear the stories of strong women who have paved the roads to their futures but also for young boys and men to understand the value and the importance of women as leaders and visionaries.
Truth be told I was pretty obsessed with the movie Apollo 13 as a teenager and also read Jim Lovell’s biography detailing the mission. I do not recall, in either of those works, hearing or reading Katherine Johnson’s name. We are slowly starting to make up for gaps in history with many of the amazing new works being published for children and I’m so pleased my children will have the opportunity to know about all the contributions to some of history’s greatest moments.