Today we have some more of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.
The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague (Amazing Scientists) by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley tells the story of a woman who was denied the opportunity to become an engineer and went ahead and became one anyway.
Raye Montague wanted to design ships, but the college she went to wouldn’t allow women into the engineering program. After studying business instead, she landed a job typing for the Navy. Working hard, she learned about computers and devised a program that could design a ship in much less time. Eventually she became an official engineer and took over as head of the department where she had started as a typist.
The rhyming text tells Montague’s life story simply and effectively. Eight pages of back matter fill in many details and reveal Montague’s “can do” philosophy in the face of a multitude of barriers. The back matter also includes a timeline with historical photographs and illustrations.
The Girl With a Mind for Math is a picture book biography of an upbeat and inspiring woman. Pick up a copy for reluctant readers and they might just catch Raye Montague’s infectious spunk.
Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: The Innovation Press (September 4, 2018)
Because of the recent popular movie, you might be more familiar with the women featured in Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrated by Laura Freeman.
Author Margot Lee Shetterly wrote the original bestselling book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, for adults. In this picture book for children, she gives a brief summary of each woman’s career, interweaving their stories and at the same time emphasizing their similar struggles as human computers for NASA.
“Dorthy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math. Really good.”
In the back Shetterly reveals that that she met many of the women when she was growing up in Hampton, Virginia.
Hidden Figures is a good introduction to these amazing women. It would be a great book to have on hand for both Black History Month and Women’s History Month.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 16, 2018)
Want to read more? Check our growing list of children’s books about women mathematicians at Science Books for Kids.
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