BOB Book Winner 2018 – NONFICTION
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
This is a story about the racial and gender discrimination that was prevalent in the 1960’s. Before the use of computers, three African-American women worked as mathematicians for NASA. They calculated launch windows for space missions (including John Glenn’s orbit of the Earth). Because they were women, they had to fight for promotions and recognition even though they were smarter than their higher-ranked, white, male colleagues. And, because they were black, they had to work in a separate “colored” building at the Langley Research Center due to Virginia’s segregation laws.
After the arrival of a new IBM machine (which was supposed to replace them) they mastered the new programming language and continued to excel in solving problem for NASA. Yet, they battled government bureaucracy to get credit for their work. Their struggles for equality paved the way for other women and for black people to succeed in the work force.
This story, and others like it, are not emphasized enough in school. History is important! If you don’t know what came before, anyone in a position of power can tell you things that are not true. Instead of listening to someone else’s spin on the past, read biographies. Get the facts. You can learn amazing things about what it was really like to be alive before you were born.
The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone
Letters To My Mother by Teresa Angulo Cardenas
They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Women of the Frontier by Marie Brandon Miller
What They Didn’t Teach You In American History Class by Mike Henry
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle
Snow Falling In Spring: Coming of Age in China during the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li-Marcus