Monday, September 4, 2017

Margaret and the moon by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Lucy Knisley

This is a picture book biography I can get behind and cheer for!

A young Margaret sees inequality in the world from girls not playing baseball to no mommy longlegs! She determines to follow her own dreams and studies everything she's interested in - but especially math. Eventually, Margaret discovered computers and began writing code. With all her hard work, she was ready to help NASA send a rocket to the moon, eventually being put in charge of software programming. Margaret's hard work paid off and got the astronauts safely to the moon.

An author's note gives more information about Margaret's life, historical context, and Margaret's continued career in mathematics and computers. There is also a brief bibliography and additional reading as well as a spread of photographs from Margaret Hamilton's life.

The text is brisk and simple, giving enough context for readers and listeners to follow the story without overwhelming with text or making the story confusing. I often feel the problem with picture book biographies is that the audience is too young to understand the ideas and context presented or there is an assumption of a lot of historical knowledge readers don't have. This book hits the right note, creating a relatable story with simple explanations of math and science and Hamilton's work.

Lucy Knisley was a great choice for illustrator; her work in comic memoirs and readable, bold style combines nicely with the text. Margaret Hamilton is shown as an ordinary girl who's interested in the world around her and works hard to explore, learn, and dream. Incidentally, I think Knisley would do well with a middle grade title similar to Telgemeier...

Verdict: I very rarely recommend picture book biographies, but this one could actually be used in storytime and will be quickly checked out without additional urging by the librarian! Promote to kids interested in science, comics, astronomy, and space as well as girls doing interesting things.

ISBN: 9780399551857; Published 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

No comments: