Title: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Publisher and Year: HarperCollins Publishers 2018
Number of pages: 30
Tags: Culture, Diversity, Math, Non-fiction, Science, K-5, Joe Marras
Descriptive Annotation: This is a true story about four black women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. These four women were some of the first black women to become engineers, and make strides in space and airplane technology. No background knowledge is needed for this because there is no actual math or science in this story, just a lot of mention of it because of how complicated the math they were doing is.
Classroom Application: This story has many classroom applications including history, math, and science. It could be used to tell the story of these four intelligent women or show real world applications of math and science. Also could be used to show african american scientists and mathematicians to show that they are indeed out there.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book represents african american culture and some of their struggles to gain equality in the workplace and in the world. Since this story takes place during the 1950’s, it can help show the fight for equality in America, and also can show the discrimination they felt by being segregated from white people, “They could not eat in the same restaurants. They could not drink from the same water fountains. They could not use the same restrooms.” This shows the segregation in America at the time, and helps to show how important it was for these women to do what they did. These women did amazing work and helped bring men to the moon and back down to earth, and advancing airplanes to prevent more crashes, among many other things, “No one knows how many lives her work may have helped save.” Talking about Katherine Johnson and her work, and no one can truly tally just many lives she saved, and no one probably even mentions it.
Title: The Librarian Who Measured The Earth
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher and Year: Little, Brown and Company 1994
Number of Pages: 47
Descriptive Annotation: This book is about a Greek librarian named Eratosthenes. He was very interested in geography and wanted to measure how big the Earth was. It details his life, but he is most known for figuring out how to calculate the Earth’s circumference. It also explains how he was a very curious man and questioned a lot of things, but mainly focused on how he learned to calculate the Earth’s circumference.
Classroom Application: This book could be used to introduce Greek scholars, but also be used to introduce the mathematical concept of circumference. Eratosthenes was the first person to find out the circumference of the Earth, so it would be a cool way of introducing circumference to younger kids.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: This book explains how schools were back in ancient Greece and how they studied, “At the gymnasium there were no desks, no paper, and no pencils.” Showing how school was different and that there are different ways to learn. Eratosthenes was a very curious person and questioned lots of things, so this could be used to show that asking questions is a good thing because it leads to knowing more things. That’s how he learned the circumference of the Earth because it started out as a question, “When he could speak, he began asking hundreds and even thousands of questions.” At the root of learning is a question, so it is good to have questions.
Title: Cece Loves Science
Author(s): Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes
Illustrator/Photographer: Vashti Harrison
Publisher and Year: Greenwillow Books, 2018
Number of Pages: 30
Tags: Diversity, Family, Fiction, Picture Book, Science, K-5, Sarah Luce
Cece Loves Science contains a list of “science facts” in the back of the book that define terms from the story. Cece is a very curious child who creates a science experiment testing whether or not dogs will eat vegetables. After coming across an answer and not being satisfied, Cece and her partner edited the question they were testing and recreated the experiment to get a better result. Students would benefit from knowing a little bit about the scientific method.
This text could be used to reinforce science content that is taught in the classroom, especially if students are learning about the scientific method. Cece follows the scientific method by observing the dog and then creating an experiment from the observations. Students could discuss how closely Cece and her partner follow the scientific method.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis:
Cece Loves Science portrays a biracial family as some of the main characters. The main character, Cece, is also another type of minority because she is a girl who is interested in science. Both of these facts play into different cultures that are represented in the book. Cece even takes the lead in the experiment, saying, “‘Let’s observe our subject’” (page 13). She and her partner take their experiment and tweak it, after Cece “remembered something Ms. Curie always said – scientists think outside the box” (page 22). I would ask the students how many of them like science and what their favorite part of the subject is.