Mae Among the Stars

by Roda Ahmed (Author) Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)

Mae Among the Stars
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering.

She wanted to be an astronaut.

Her mom told her, If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible."

Little Mae's curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents' encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.

Publishers Weekly

Ahmed's first children's book presents a vague fictional portrait of a young Mae Jemison, whose parents support her dream of becoming an astronaut; their advice ("If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible") becomes the book's refrain. Ahmed hints at the sexist attitudes Jemison was up against: Mae's classmates laugh when she reveals that she wants to be an astronaut, and her skeptical teacher tells her, "Nursing would be a good profession for someone like you." Newcomer Burrington's spare illustrations combine watery splashes of color with collaged elements; her characters' rounded heads and minimal facial features give them an emoji-like appearance but don't do much to bring emotion to the story. An afterword provides some details about Jemison's career and various firsts she accomplished, including becoming the first African-American woman in space, but this is less a picture book biography than a generic ode to persistence and dreaming big, loosely tied to Jemison's life. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Margaret Riley King, William Morris Endeavor. (Jan.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—Born in Alabama, Mae Jemison dreamed of going to space. When she grew up, she attained a degree in chemical engineering before finishing medical school in the 1980s. After a stint in the Peace Corps, Jemison wasn't content with just being an engineer or doctor—she satisfied her love of the stars by becoming an astronaut—the first African American female astronaut and the first African American woman in space. Ahmed and Burrington have created a love letter to Jemison with this appealing picture book biography. The recurring line, "If you can dream it, if you believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible" is a chorus sure to resonate with children. The emphasis on Jemison's lifelong passion for space science will inspire readers to have confidence in the trajectory of their own interests. Burrington's bright, kid-friendly illustrations were created with ink and Adobe Photoshop. An epilogue provides the dates and details of Jemison's life and career. VERDICT A starry addition to picture book biography collections.—Deidre Winterhalter, Oak Park Public Library, IL

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


Mae was a day dreamer and her dream is to become a astronaut I can relate because I also want to be a astronaut.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
January 20, 2018
Age Range
4 - 8 years
Kirkus Reviews starred, 11/01/17
None None

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