Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Helaine Becker
Illustrator: Dow Phumiruk
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Katherine Johnson is fascinated with numbers. She loves to explore them and figure out the patterns of the universe with them. Her dream is to become a mathematician; however, because of segregation and racial issues, she faces many challenges along the way. Eventually, she is hired by NASA and gains promotion after promotion until she is working on important space missions, like Apollo 11. When Apollo 13 has a problem in space, Katherine is the one who does the calculations to bring it home safely. Her love for numbers and the stars coupled with her willingness to persevere helps mankind reach greater heights than they ever have before.
Filled with beautiful pictures and a wonderful story about Katherine Johnson’s life, this is a book readers can count on to inform in a delightful way. The text is engaging and well-spaced throughout the book. The pictures are colorful and aesthetically pleasing, with a tone that matches the story. For fans of the film Hidden Figures, this book adds a little more of Katherine’s story written in a kid-friendly way. It fits right in with the delightful genre of children’s biography picture books, which are becoming more and more popular. These books tell relatively untold stories in a simple but fascinating way, and Counting on Katherine definitely fulfills that purpose. Well-crafted and engaging, Counting on Katherine is a great read!