Counting on Katherine

Helaine Becker

Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
Ages 5-9
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14 May 2020
40 pages

This is the inspirational, true story of Katherine Johnson – the mathematical genius who saved Apollo 13 and ensured the astronauts returned home when the mission was in critical danger. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations throughout, this gorgeous book is the perfect introduction to the trailblazing African-American who defied the boundaries of race and gender and went on to save lives and make incredible contributions to history.

As a child, Katherine loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink – everything she could. Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about maths, about the universe . . .

From Katherine's early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, this is the true story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who went above and beyond what was expected of her in the 1960s.

Helaine Becker interviewed Katherine and her family for this authorized biography, Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, which features Dow Phumiruk's gorgeous full-colour illustrations throughout.

A picture-book biography of a humble genius who excelled in a career once out of reach for most African-Americans. An excellent biography that will inspire young readers, especially girls, to do what they love

Kirkus, starred review

Children who want to share in the Hidden Figures buzz can start right here . . . Phumiruk’s digital artwork convincingly portrays Johnson as brainy and imaginative. This title is ready made for “My Hero” biography reports.

The Bulletin

The straightforward, informative text is paired with delicate, precise digital artwork . . . Very worthwhile book.