Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson put Astronauts on the Moon

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The young Katherine Johnson yearned to know as much as she could about numbers and the universe. At school she was a star student, skipping three grades because she was so bright. Yet the high school in Katherine’s town didn’t admit black students at the time, so her father worked extra hard to move the family to a town that did have a black high school.

Katherine did very well at high school and dreamed of being a research mathematician, but there weren’t any jobs for women in that area, so she became a school teacher. But, in the 1950s, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) started hiring women as mathematicians. Katherine was so good at her job that she was promoted again and again until she was selected to calculate the flight paths for Project Apollo, the first flights to the moon. Famously, when the Apollo 13 mission went awry, it was Katherine who had to re-calculate the astronauts’ path home, which she did successfully.

This inspiring picture book for 6 to 8 year olds will inspire them to dream big and work hard to acieve those dreams, whether they’re young mathematicians or not. Books like this also make maths fascinating, which can only be a good thing – and make us realise how essential numbers are in a variety of careers. Last, it’s Johnson’s sheer gumption and brains that are most inspiring of all.

More books like this

When We Walked on the Moon

Author: David Long Illustrator: Sam Kalda

More than 5,000 rockets have been blasted into space, but only 12 people have ever been lucky enough to walk on the Moon and look up at Earth. So begins this fascinating human story of the seven Apollo missions and the people involved.

Read more about When We Walked on the Moon

Work It, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

Author: Caroline Moss Illustrator: Sinem Erkas

A beautifully written and illustrated book about the inspiring life story of Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, from the wonderful Work It Girl series. 

Read more about Work It, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

Share this book with your friends

Use our Bookfinder to discover the perfect children's books for every age...