VIP: Dr. Mae Jemison: Brave Rocketeer

HarperCollins/Harper. (VIP). Jan. 2021. 128p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780062978080; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780062889706.
Gr 3-7–This title profiles Mae Jemison (b. 1956), the first Black woman to travel to space. The text begins with a prologue; twelve-year-old Jemison watched the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon on television and noticed the astronauts were all white men. She wondered why the team did not include women or people of color. Following the prologue, the text describes Jemison’s life, starting with her joyful birth. Alexander provides numerous examples that highlight Jemison’s intelligence, perseverance, and bravery as a young child and throughout her life. At 16, Jemison attended Stanford University, where she was one of the only African American females in the chemical engineering major. She wasn’t treated with the same respect awarded to her male classmates, but Jemison demonstrated her resolve by reminding herself she was smart and worthwhile. Additional segments of information are listed within boxes to provide further context, including “10 Things Women Couldn’t Do in the 1960s and 1970s,” “Important Civil Rights Protests,” and other fascinating facts. There are numerous illustrations. Back matter includes a time line of Jemison’s life, a time line of women in space flight, “Heroes Hall of Fame,” a bibliography, and further reading.
VERDICT This middle grade biography captures the ambition and perseverance of Jemison and would be a welcome resource for any library.

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