Counting the Stars
Katherine Johnson, the brilliant African American mathematician who played a major role in the early U.S. space program, has been the recipient of numerous tributes in recent years. In 2015, President Obama presented Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the following year, she and her female colleagues at NASA were the subject of a successful motion picture, Hidden Figures. In 2019, author Lesa Cline-Ransome and artist Raul Colón brought Johnson’s inspiring story to life for young readers in the biographical picture book, Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician. Dreamscape Media has recently released the popular children’s biography in audiobook format. Counting the Stars quickly recounts the major events of Johnson’s life – from her childhood as a starry-eyed child prodigy in the segregated South to her groundbreaking success as the leading research mathematician in America’s post-war space program. In the book’s most exciting scene, Johnson singlehandedly plots the flight of Mercury-Atlas 6, the celebrated space launch in which astronaut John Glenn became the first human to orbit the earth. In Cline-Ransome’s crisp, fast-paced prose, Johnson emerges as a determined and heroic figure. “Let me do it,” she demands of the NASA commanders when Glenn insists that the computerized flight instruction be hand-checked before his departure. “Tell me where you want the man to land, and I’ll tell you where to send him up.” In place of Colón’s memorable illustrations, the audiobook version of Counting the Stars features engaging narration by actress Bahni Turpin, along with realistic sound effects and a swelling musical score for the most dramatic scenes.
David Shirley ©2020 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.