Written by: Roda Ahmed
Illustrated by: Stasia Burrington
For ages: 3-8 years
Topics Covered: STEM, Women in STEM, Own Voices, Historical Figure, Historical Events, Mae Jemison, Women in Science, Goals, Dream, Self-Esteem.
This is an adorable story that follows young Mae Jemison from childhood to when she accomplishes her goal of waving to her parents from a rocket ship in space. Mae is an extremely intelligent girl and she knows what she wants. With encouragement from her parents, she knows she can achieve her goals of becoming an astronaut. After a minor setback in which a teacher says she would be better suited for nursing, Mae’s resolve is tested and she vows to achieve her goal.
Most people know at least a bit about the prolific life of astronaut Mae Jemison. This book in particular does a great job of teaching readers that hard work and belief in yourself is what matters when dreaming big, not what anyone else says. Something else we really like about the book is the illustrations. They’re absolutely precious, but also Mae’s dad is depicted in several instances cooking and pouring a drink for Mae’s mother. It’s these small moments that normalize equitable household roles, and dads being shown in stories cooking. We can reach a place where gender stereotypes aren’t being reinforced all the time within books, setting readers up for a mindset that doesn’t immediately equate mom cooking and dad sitting with a newspaper. This book is a wonderful example of that! Mae’s parents are loving, involved, and believe in her ability to achieve her goals.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
RODA AHMED was born in Hargaisa, Somalia and moved to Norway with her family and seven siblings. A graduate in Anthropology from the Norwegian University of Technology and Natural Sciences, Roda has also mastered five languages; Somali, Arabic, Norwegian, English and French.
In 2008 Roda’s debut novel, “Forberedelsen” (The Preparation), became a bestseller in Norway. It was published by Gyldendal Norsk Forlag – one of the most respected publishing houses in the country. Roda is a recipient of a writing scholarship from “Fritt Ord” (Norway’s The Free Speech Foundation).
Ahmed was a regular columnist for the Norwegian National newspaper, Dagsavisen and is releasing her first children’s book “Mae Among the Stars” in 2018 with Harper Collins. “Mae Among the Stars” is inspired by the story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel into space.
STASIA BURRINGTON (nee Kato) was born in Texas, grew up in Montana and now lives and works in SeaTac, WA with her favorite people and two cats.
She is a full time artist/illustrator. Her passions lie in the arts – in all forms, experimental cooking, camping, theology and science fiction, fat nerdy science books, coffee and ice cream.