D.K. Life Stories: Katherine Johnson

by Ebony Joy Wilkins

Ebony Joy Wilkins author of DK Life Stories Katherine Johnson

It was an incredible accomplishment when the United States first put a person on the moon–but without the incredible behind-the-scenes work of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, such a feat could not have been possible. In this biography for kids ages 8-12, follow Katherine’s remarkable journey from growing up in West Virginia, to becoming a teacher, to breaking barriers at NASA and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

“This book is for fans and readers of history, mathematics, NASA, and Black American and/or Female Trailblazers. Both children and adults alike will enjoy the framework (illustrations done by Charlotte Ager) and the information found within the pages. Fans of “Hidden Figures” will enjoy this book as much as the movie.”

Ebony Joy Wilkins author of DK Life Stories Katherine Johnson

It was an incredible accomplishment when the United States first put a person on the moon–but without the incredible behind-the-scenes work of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, such a feat could not have been possible. In this biography for kids ages 8-12, follow Katherine’s remarkable journey from growing up in West Virginia, to becoming a teacher, to breaking barriers at NASA and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

“This book is for fans and readers of history, mathematics, NASA, and Black American and/or Female Trailblazers. Both children and adults alike will enjoy the framework (illustrations done by Charlotte Ager) and the information found within the pages. Fans of “Hidden Figures” will enjoy this book as much as the movie.”

Reviews

“It is a well-written and inspiring story of a woman who helped change American history and made travel in space precise and safer. I learned so much and would highly recommend it to students. It would be a great book for reports. There are lots of photos, explanations, a timeline, quiz, who’s who section and glossary. There are inspiring quotes from Mrs. Johnson throughout the book. What a wonderful addition to my biography collection. Along with other “Hidden Figures” books, students are sure to enjoy learning about this fascinating mathematician and science legend.”
-Amy (Goodreads)

“This book is well written and organized with a timeline at the end, a glossary, a list of Who’s Who, and even a Quiz. This book would be a great resource for any teacher or library.”
-Janine (Goodreads)

“I liked this biography about Katherine Johnson. The author did a nice job in giving great information about Katherine and implementing photos from her life. I enjoyed reading how Katherine was eager to learn and how quick she learned things. The book was easy to understand and read. I feel like students would be able to learn a great deal about Katherine and get inspired by her story.”
-Luvy W. (Goodreads)

“What an important book to have in every classroom. Not only is it an engaging biography of an important trailblazer, this book also features awesome nonfiction text features that are excellent for teaching.”
-Kate M. (Goodreads)

“This book is for fans and readers of history, mathematics, NASA, and Black American and/or Female Trailblazers. Both children and adults alike will enjoy the framework (illustrations done by Charlotte Ager) and the information found within the pages. Fans of “Hidden Figures” will enjoy this book as much as the movie.”
-AquaVenatus (Amazon)

Discussion questions about the book

1. Katherine was a skilled mathematician. She used her talents to help put a man on the moon. Think of your own skillset. How can you use your skills to benefit your community? School? Home?
2. Think of your strengths and weaknesses. What do you do well? What do you plan to work on to improve upon your weaknesses?
3. Most people know that Katherine was a mathematician, but few people know that she was also a teacher. What skills (or talents) do you possess that no one knows about? How will you share your hidden talents?
4. If you had the chance to fly to space, what three items would you take with you? Explain why you chose these three.
5. If you wanted to write a story about your school experiences, what would your story look like? Would you write about yourself or someone close to you? What message would you like to send to your readers?

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