Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison (Work It, Girl)

by Caroline Moss (Author) Sinem Erkas (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Work It, Girl

* 2021 NSTA-CBC Best STEM Books Award

In this imaginatively illustrated book from the Work It, Girl series, discover how Mae Jemison became the first African American woman in space in this true story of her life. Then, learn 10 key lessons from her work you can apply to your own life.

When Mae Jemison was a little girl, she loved science, dancing, and dinosaurs. She watched the Apollo moon landings and wondered why none of the astronauts were women--and she just didn't buy the answers she was given...

Work It, Girl is an empowering series of biographies featuring modern women in the world of work, from designers and musicians to CEOs and scientists. Each of these vibrantly illustrated books tells the story of a remarkable woman in 10 chapters that highlight transformative moments in her life, following the ups and downs that she faced on her road to success. At the end, 10 key lessons show what you can learn from these moments, and self-reflection questions help you apply these lessons to your own life. Brightly colored photo illustrations of 3-D cut paper artwork featuring inspiring quotes from these amazing women bring their stories to vivid life. Learn how to work it as you lay the foundations for your own successful career.

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Publishers Weekly

This installment of the Work It, Girl series focuses on Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman astronaut. Over 10 easy-to-read chapters, Moss uses conversational prose to an approachable, relatable introduction Jemison's life, from childhood dreams ("When Mae Jemison was a little girl, she dreamed of sailing off into space") to adult triumphs ("In 1981, she graduated Cornell as a Doctor of Medicine"). Throughout, Moss focuses on the obstacles Jemison faced ("Dreaming big was not something a young Black girl from Alabama in the 1960s was encouraged to do") and the hard work necessary to overcome them. Bright cut-paper illustrations by Erkas complement inspirational pull quotes and factoids. Includes "10 key lessons from Mae's life," reflective questions, and further reading. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

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.--Erin Olsen, Hunter College Elementary School, NY

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Caroline Moss

Caroline Moss is an author based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan and more. Her first book, "HEY LADIES!" came out in May 2018. She loves scary movies and pickles.

Sinem Erkas is a graphic artist and art director with an appetite for experimentation and a good sense of fun. Mainly working in publishing, her practice ranges from digital artworks to 3D photo-illustrations - her favourite projects involve creating playful and bold imagery that make you look twice. Based in South London, she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2008 (1st in BA Graphic Design). She has since acquired numerous awards for her designs and illustrations, and her work has been included in London exhibitions and the Venice Biennale '09.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Frances Lincoln Ltd
Publication date
March 20, 2020
Work It, Girl
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF007090 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Science & Technology
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
Library of Congress categories
Women astronauts
African American astronauts
Jemison, Mae
African American women astronauts
2021 NSTA-CBC Best STEM Books Award

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