Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Katherine loved to count. She counted the steps to the road. The steps up to church. The number of dishes and spoons she washed in the bright white sink. The only thing she didn't count were the stars in the sky. Only a fool, she thought, would try that! Even so the stars sparked her imagination. What was out there?

Premise/plot: Counting on Katherine is a picture book biography of Katherine Johnson. Part of Johnson's story was told in the adult biography Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. (Hidden Figures also tells the story of other human computers, women who worked alongside Katherine Johnson. This is the book that inspired the film of the same name.) Both the movie and book were fabulous. It isn't a surprise that someone would want to adapt the story for a younger audience. It is a WONDERFUL story.

My thoughts: I really loved this one. The narrative is lovely. The illustrations are just as lovely. It's a compelling story and one that could inspire readers of all ages.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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