Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race” as Want to Read:
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  15,741 ratings  ·  2,327 reviews
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math...really good.

They participated in some of NASA's greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America's first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 16th 2018 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…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,741 ratings  ·  2,327 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
I have now read the full novel of this, seen the movie of this and read the children’s book of this. Obviously, the children’s book misses out on so much, but it’s a great introduction for children. The good thing about it is you can get a feel for the bigger picture or overview of what really happened. I mean, it really is an amazing true story in American history.

The artwork is nice and I like how really good at math these girls are. My niece is struggling with math at the moment and she is
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Stephanie Anze
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Before rockets where launched into space and man walked on the moon, a group of underrepresented women worked in shadows. Hired as computers, these women used their minds, a ruler and paper for complex equations that set trajectories and made history. Of black descent, theirs was a story that had been previously been unknown. Now Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden finally have the spotlight and theirs is a story that rises higher than the rockets they help sent ...more
DeAnna Knippling
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.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
#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 triumphs ...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
Four women are profiled in this little book (my review for the grown up version) with lovely illustrations. How could I not enjoy reading about brilliant women doing brilliant things?
A wonderful telling of the African American women who helped launch the space program. In the bio for Katherine Johnson the author failed to mentioned her Medal of Freedom award.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I could do with a bit more explicitness around “because racism” — I think segregation is presented mostly as “separate spaces” and less “also not equal & danger.” But overall, it’s a beautiful book & gives brief bios of each of the four women. I also think there could have been a bit more math. Interested to read the grownup book & what made it to this version. (This library hold came through first.)
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 ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lauren Waters
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
I really like this illustration style (the matte paper).

Whereas the adult book and ensuing movie works to show how Dorothy, Mary, and Katherine were part of a community together, this picture book merely moves from one woman to the next. Because I read quickly, I would often find myself confused and then remember that oh yes, the name of this woman was different than the name of the previous woman I was reading about.

Although it talks about various legal and cultural barriers the women faced
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
this was great to share with my granddaughter
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
This is such a lovely picture book version of the book. Perfect for children so they can learn this important story of these incredible women.
Aliza Werner
Black women in math and science who changed our world. An important book to have in the classroom.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to the book by the same name for adults, as well as the successful movie based on that book, many people know the story of the four African-American women who helped NASA send men into space. Now the author and an illustrator have teamed up to bring the story to children.

Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were “really good" at math, and they loved it enough to want to make a career out of it. Dorothy Vaughan got interested during WWII, out of a desire
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Can you imagine the conversation in the 40's "I just got a job as a computer". These math wizards were trailblazers and can be inspirations for all young women even today. Lots of great facts and figures about the progression of the space program through the many years and US presidents. Also, men would enjoy this book.
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!
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for the story and these women. I found the narrative a bit draggy at times, but overall a well worth it read.
Christina Carter
I am grateful for a picture book edition of Hidden Figures that makes each woman's narrative accessible to our youngest readers. It tells the true stories of four black women: Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, and the important roles they played working for NASA. Their work as computers (mathematicians) and engineers was critical in developing aircraft that could fly faster, higher, and safer. Their labor extended beyond our planet to outer space.

The emphasis
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is about four powerful women who worked in NASA and helped NASA to be successful. Now their stories inspire both women and African Americans. Also, it shows how African Americans were segregated and threatened not equal, then how they earned their rights. There is also a pretty good movie with the same name “Hidden Figures”. If you didn’t watch it yet, watch it as soon as possible. Different from the movie, they added one more women, Dr. Christine Mann Darden, to the book.
« 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
  • Thank You, Omu!
  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles
  • Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
  • Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing
  • The Undefeated
  • The Stuff of Stars
  • Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented
  • Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
  • Dreamers
  • Hair Love
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star
  • The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin
  • A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name
  • Before She Was Harriet
See similar books…
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
“While Mary Jackson was busy at work helping the NACA build supersonic airplanes, girls in high school were beginning to imagine different possibilities for themselves. Even though teaching was still the best option available, there were now more career choices.” 0 likes
More quotes…