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About The Book

“This rich volume is a national treasure.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Captivating, informative, and inspiring…Easy to follow and hard to put down.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.”

In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

About The Author

Photograph © Joylette Hylick

Katherine Johnson (1918–2020) was a former NASA mathematician whose work was critical to the success of many of their initiatives, including the Apollo program and the start of the Space Shuttle program. Throughout her long career she received numerous awards, including the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama.

About The Reader

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

"Narrator Heather Simms gives a captivating performance of Katherine Johnson's inspiring life story. At age 4, Katherine was helping her older brother with his schoolwork, and by age 18, she had graduated from college with degrees in mathematics and French. In describing her parents' struggles and sacrifices to educate all their children, Johnson describes the impact that racism, school segregation, and poverty had on her life. But she persevered, achieving her goal of being a research mathematician. Simms gives an upbeat voice to Johnson's triumphs as she proves herself to NASA engineers and becomes instrumental in the success of the first U.S. space flights. Johnson's passion for learning, her love for her family, and her pride in her remarkable professional accomplishments come through loud and clear in Simms's voice."

– AudioFile Magazine

Awards and Honors

  • ILA Teachers' Choices
  • Beehive Award Master List (UT)
  • Intermediate Sequoyah Book Award Master List (OK)

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More books from this reader: Heather Alicia Simms