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From the Page to the Screen: Hidden Figures

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 1:59pm by PizzaPuppy

The new movie Hidden Figures is in theaters now, and is already generating positive reviews and a plethora of award nominations. This amazing true story, first published as Hidden Figures: the American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, chronicles the trials and tribulations of a group of extraordinarily talented and dedicated African American female mathematicians, whose calculations launched John Glenn into Earth's orbit and won the space race. These "human computers" used slide rules, pencils, and adding machines to perform the advanced mathematics needed to calculate trajectories, launch windows, and navigational charts in case of electrical failures, among others. These brave women faced adversity through sexism and segregation, but persevere through it all to become key players in evolution of NASA and space exploration. This amazing story is also available on audiobook and Large Print.

Author Margot Lee Shetterly will be speaking at Rackham Auditorium on January 24th from 4-8:15 PM. More information is available here.

Looking to learn more about the phenomenal women scientists that propelled us into space? Check out Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars (also available here in Large Print. Or learn more about the many women who have since traveled to outer space through items such as Promised the Moon, Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, and Astronaut Pam: Countdown to Commander (an especially interesting nonfiction movie that follows Commander Pam Melroy and her crew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery). We also have books about women inventors, such as Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women.

Also check out our resources regarding two very famous pioneering female astronauts: Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. Books on Sally Ride for an adult audience include this photobiography and Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space. To the Stars, Sally Ride: Life on a Mission, and Who Was Sally Ride? are all intended for kids interested in learning more about Sally Ride. We also have many resources on Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel to space, such as this biography, You Should Meet Mae Jemison or Mae Jemison, Awesome Astronaut!. You can even read books written by the astronaut herself, such as The 100 Year Starship.

Just into space? We have lots for you to check out here at the library, such as Eyewitness Space Exploration, or the Astronaut Handbook. The Dream is Alive is a fascinating DVD that uncovers life on a space station, and witnesses the first space walk performed by an American woman. We also have a Library Space Camp program for kids coming on Thursday, April 6th at the Downtown branch, where you can learn all about what makes a successful astronaut and complete cool space activities.


Hate to be a buzzkill, but John Glenn never went to the moon. He did become the first American to orbit the earth, though. And Hidden Figures is a great movie!

I listened to the Hidden Figures book on CD and watched the movie, this is one of the times that the movie is way better than the book. If you are into a lot of detail the book would be more interesting to you. I just got lost with all the switching of characters and the details that went with who.

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