Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hidden Figures” as Want to Read:
Hidden Figures
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hidden Figures

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,639 ratings  ·  2,181 reviews
The uplifting, amazing true story—a New York Times bestseller

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle M
Paperback, Young Readers' Edition, 240 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hidden Figures, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Susie I just finished it; I agree with Jean-Marie and the publisher's website. Elementary students can definitely handle the young readers' edition. The wri…moreI just finished it; I agree with Jean-Marie and the publisher's website. Elementary students can definitely handle the young readers' edition. The writing is pretty basic (few complex sentences) and the subject matter is explained in a way to supply students with much of the background they might need, whether history or science.(less)
Emma Yes I did. It is definitely an important part of our history that people show know about, but the book itself was hard to follow, and I often was conf…moreYes I did. It is definitely an important part of our history that people show know about, but the book itself was hard to follow, and I often was confused about which character was which. I did read the young reader's edition, which is below my level, but I've seen similar reviews for the actual book.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,639 ratings  ·  2,181 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hidden Figures
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't believe I'm saying this, but this is one case where I think it would be beneficial to see the movie version first. The film is full of so much charm as it tells the story of the African-American women who were an important part of NACA, later NASA. The book is much more dry, but if you have seen the film, you will have a much better understanding of the situations that Shetterly describes. Actually, she does a nice job of describing some of the physics and mathematics involved. I am cert ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
When the ads for Hidden Figures came out last year I was ecstatic. Not only did the movie look great and have a spectacular story to tell, the headliners were black women! I hadn’t seen the movie before starting the book, but I was excited anyway. I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. Very disappointed, in fact.

I don’t think Shetterly grasped the concept of storytelling. Just because a book is non-fiction doesn’t stop it from being a book. There still has to be elements of style and flow in it. H
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
I had huge hopes for this book.

Women in science, women in math is such an important topic; so important that one should go beyond expectations.

This books does such deservice to all young, budding, bright girls, and to all women who worked hard,inspired one another and persevered in a world set against them.

This books reads like a catalog, a fact-stuffed wiki page. It is horrible, just horrible. What a shame.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Had to give this three because even though I absolutely loved the story and find the arcs of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson incredibly inspiring, the format and flow of the book made it hard to follow. I frequently had a difficult time remembering which characters had which distinctions, and also keeping the timeline straight. However, the content itself is important and truly hidden from our collective history, so I'm happy to have read and begun to appreciate how amazing t ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. I know some readers are upset that this book doesn't have a novel- or movie-type plot with a main character and all end neatly tied up--but hey. That's life. I thoroughly enjoyed both the details and attitude here. But please do keep in mind that this isn't a biography, but a history. ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dorothy Vaughan
Mary Jackson
Katherine Johnson
Christine Darden
and the many other African American women who worked for NASA.

I honor you.

To women in general and especially women of colour working in science, engineering and math.

I honor you.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Back before Mega computers that did everything for us, there was a group of women (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden) who answered the call by NASA to become “human computers” who used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. These highly intelligent mathematicians made it possible for NASA achieve their greatest accomplishments in space. They did this during a time of se
3.5 stars Review To Come

Very, very dry at times; full of scientific and sociological detail. The science stuff tended to make my eyes glaze but the sociological aspects were fascinating, saddening, and inspiring. It really brought home the advantages I have as a white woman. It was also interesting to see how international relations and PR affected the US's desegregation policy. And very little of the material in this both was covered in any of my history classes in high school or college. That
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio version of this book - the first part was a little slow and boring with a lot of background info of NACA, but I really enjoyed it afterwards when it got into the ladies' early lives and how they were hired at Langley. As expected, these women put up with a LOT of discrimination because they were African-American, but also because they were women going into a "mens" field of work.

I learned a lot about the air and space program that I had not known before. I'm so impressed
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it

It tells the story of important women who were (mostly) forgotten, and though it is quite interesting, it reads almost like a textbook.
#mystrangereading Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I also don't know where THIS review went! Ugh. I read this book this summer and enjoyed it. It was fufulling No. 16 of #my2018strangepanzanellareadingchallenge A BOOK WHERE YOU SAW THE MOVIE FIRST, and although the topic was so important and I found the content very rich, I also really enjoyed this film more than the book. I think I felt the movie did a great job of capturing the heart of these courageous women's struggles and trium ...more
This is a very inspirational story about a special group of women, who were integral to seeing America into space.

I found the book to be rather dry, there wasn't much of a story, just a whole bunch of facts laid out in a timeline. It made for a rather cumbersome read.

3 stars
Mitch Karunaratne
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Wow - sooo different from the film! The book really digs deep in to the history of technology, the process of math and racism as well as the home and professional lives of the female, black,"computers". I was truly in awe of these women - driven, intelligent women - who let their creative brains fill with possibilities in a world that really didn't nurture, support or even want to allow that to happen. They were amazing in their professional fields, inspiring in their capacity to lead themselves ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was so eager to read this book, the story had so much potential but the book lacks storytelling from the first chapter. I am disappointed.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won't lie, I decided to read this based on how much I enjoyed the movie that came out last year. Although I myself am neither Black nor an engineer, the film version of these legends touched me, to say the least; I can only imagine how the journeys of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson would move Black communities everywhere. After remembering that the movie was based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly, I downloaded it to my Kindle and began reading — in part because storytelli ...more
Lauren Waters
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is such an inspiring story of incredible people. I loved reading and learning about the powerful women that worked as human computers during U.S. space exploration. The author also included descriptions of historically significant events with civil rights, gender equality in the workplace and conflicts with Russia.
this was great to share with my granddaughter
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for the story and these women. I found the narrative a bit draggy at times, but overall a well worth it read.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Great story. I knew women worked in programming long before it became a "man's field" but it was interesting to hear about it in more detail. It was also interesting to hear how these women each had their own way of paving the road for future generations. One of my favorite parts is when John Glen said the last thing he needed to be comfortable with going into space was to have Katherine Johnson check the math one more time. What a great compliment to her skill and talents! ...more
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book pulled me in almost immediately. While there are lots of names and details, knowing a bit about how the story would unfold kept me going. The extent of the segregation and the achievements that have not been known as far and wide as they should be until now was eye opening. I am eagerly awaiting the release of the movie even though I know it can't live up to the details in the book that I found so engrossing. ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Don't get me wrong, these women are amazing and inspiring and their stories need to be told. However the book was fact, fact, fact, with a lack of a fluid, engaging storyline. In the textbook-like recording of their lives, it is missing a little life, pizazz, spirit. Make no mistake though, it is a good thing that this history is thoroughly preserved. ...more
Anna Bagameri
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book Hidden Figures is a great book. It is based on a true story that no one really knows about. The book show the trouble that colored people have to go throw by white people and this book goes a little deeper this book show what four black women go through and how those four women help us in one of the biggest things that has happened in a country at that time. And how it took so long for them to be equal. It shows that little girls and boys that went throw all this, just to do what they l ...more
Royce B
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was good. It was historical and scientific dealing with NACA and NASA. The reading age would probably be 5th grade and up because the words are a little difficult. Women are working at NACA as human computers and eventually move to NASA. How does technology evolve? Read the book to find out!!!
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing women, amazing writing, highly recommend!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I kind of expected this book to be somewhat like the movie, but when I read this book I figured it was like a biography. But even if it isn't what I expected I still love this book.👍 ...more
Dana Durusu
Hidden Figures tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, three of the African American women who helped NASA put the first man on the moon behind. These women worked as "human computers" and helped resolve problems for NASA's engineers. However, during the first years of their employment with NASA the company was still segregated and women were looked down upon, so these women suffered a lot of unfair treatment while working there. This book gives an interesting pe ...more
Hannah R.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was an overall good book, if you like math and science you would probably like that. I definitely recommend the book to everyone
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my favorite book I have read so far this year. Definitely a book I plan to have my children read. A fabulous narrative, full of fascinating science and math as well as so much information on the social and work experiences of NACA/NASA employees. The book starts at a much earlier place than the movie (which is also wonderful) and ends at a later point. Well worth seeking out to read!
2 Stars

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race was my bookclub's selection for March. I was excited to read it. I first heard about NASA's "human computers" a few years ago on Women's Day, so I was excited to learn more about these overlooked historical figures. The hold list at the library was very long, so I requested every format they had (book, ebook, large print, audio book) hoping to get one in time. Unfortunat
Amy Arnold
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I feel like this is a must read. As a white girl from Wyoming, I have learned about the Civil Rights Movement, and I could spout off facts if asked. However, I learned so much more about our country’s history by reading the stories of these incredible women. Their stories give hope in how much has been accomplished during their lifetimes, but also shows how much farther we need to go. They are an inspiration in how much they were able to accomplish and contribute in an age that discriminated aga ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Let the Children March
  • Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968
  • Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
  • To the Moon!: The True Story of the American Heroes on the Apollo 8 Spaceship
  • Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
  • The Radium Girls: The Scary But True Story of the Poison That Made People Glow in the Dark
  • Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
  • Brina: A Pagan Picture Book
  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles
  • Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution Is Choking the World's Oceans
  • Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing
  • Two Roads
  • New Kid (New Kid, #1)
  • The Undefeated
  • Thank You, Omu!
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Related Articles

  Walter Isaacson, it’s safe to say, is not afraid of tackling the really big topics. In 2011, he wrote about our ubiquitous computer culture...
112 likes · 20 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Their goal wasn't to stand out because of their differences; it was to fit in because of their talents. Like the men they worked for, and the men they sent hurtling off into the atmosphere, they were just doing their jobs.” 5 likes
“A tiny error in judgment or a second of delay could mean disaster.” 0 likes
More quotes…