Work It, Girl: Mae Jemison

Quarto/Frances Lincoln. (Work It, Girl). Mar. 2020. 64p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780711245150.
Gr 3-7–This in-depth, well-organized biography about Mae Jemison goes beyond the typical text. Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space in 1992. Moss portrays Jemison’s childhood years as a dreamer who knew that she would have to break barriers to accomplish her goals. Jemison’s own words are highlighted throughout the book by Erkas’s 3D, paper-cut, colorful illustrations. Some spreads are just a quote and an illustration. One shows Jemison in a space capsule looking out to Earth with the quote, “I looked down at Chicago and I thought about the little girl who assumed she would go into space. What would my younger self have thought if she had met me? I think she would have been tickled.” Moments like this allow readers to relate to Jemison and her ambition. A few photographs of Jemison in her NASA uniform and of her preparing for space flight are included. It is also refreshing that this biography highlights the accomplishments that Jemison achieved after she retired from NASA. Near the end of the book, a fun top 10 list of lessons emphasizes Jemison’s determination and encourages self-reflection in readers. A further reading list is featured.
VERDICT A very well-executed, colorful, and detailed biography of an American heroine. A welcome addition to any young readers’ biography section.

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