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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Margaret And The Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing. Written by Dean Robins and illustrated by Lucy Knisley. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2017. $23.99 ages 6 and up

"Margaret began solving
harder and harder math
problems. It was fun working
her way through the steps.
She liked moving around x's
and y's in algebra. She liked
measuring circles and triangles
in geometry. She liked studying
curves in calculus. And then she
discovered COMPUTERS!"

Margaret Hamilton, as a young girl, had an unending curiosity about the world, and she loved to solve problems! Her curiosity led her to ask questions that few others had considered in the 1930s and 1940s.

"Why were there only DADDY longlegs?
She would call some of them MOMMY
longlegs, too.

Why didn't girls play baseball?
Margaret had a solution.
She would join the team herself.

Why didn't more girls grow up to be doctors?
Or scientists?
Or anything else they wanted?
Margaret had a solution.
She would study hard in every subject at school."

And study she did - especially mathematics. It is no wonder that this inquisitive, unwavering young woman became director of software programming at NASA. Her practice with solutions in her early life lead her to working on the Apollo 8, 10 and 11 moon missions. Margaret and her code overrode landing problems with the Eagle's computer and ensured a safe moon landing for Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crew. 

This is an excellent example of the best in picture book biographies for our children. Dean Robbins
is obviously a fan of Ms. Hamilton and it shows is his thoughtful and inspiring text. Lucy Knisley's winsome and lively illustrations, rendered in ink and paper, and colored in Adobe Photoshop are just right in keeping the biography relevant for its young audience.

This terrific tribute to a much admired woman would be welcome fare for any library. Back matter includes an author's note, bibliography and a list of books for additional reading. Well done, indeed! 

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