Mae Among the Stars by R. Ahmed
Ahmed, Roda. Mae Among the Stars. Illustrated by Stasia Burrington, Harper Collins, 2018.
Mae Among the Stars is the perfect picture book for any young child (3-8) interested in space. It tells the real-life story of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space. This story urges children to explore even the most impossible dreams, or as Mae’s parents repeatedly encourage throughout: “If you can dream it, if you believe it and work hard for it, anything is possible.” The story revolves around the age-old question most of us are asked as children: What would you like to be when you grow up? Mae Jemison dreams about being an astronaut. Although her teacher tries to deter her from pursuing this dream, Mae refuses to give up. Thanks to her determination and parents’ reinforcement, she continues to work towards achieving her “impossible” dream of seeing Earth from space. Kids will find the last page of this book particularly interesting because it contains the bio of Mae Jemison and her accomplishments.
The illustrations in this book elevate the story to an exceptional level. The rich colours and imaginative drawings bring each page to life. The illustrations are so vivid that one page in particular stands out from the rest because it is depicted in a muted blue, representing Mae’s gloomy response to her teacher’s disapproval of her dream of becoming an astronaut. Although the story tackles the deep-rooted issues of racial and gender stereotypes, the writing is simple enough for young readers to connect with Mae’s story while still inspiring them to reach for the stars.
Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Bridget Harty
Bridget Harty is a University of Alberta undergraduate student in the Elementary Education program. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and rereading the Harry Potter series any chance she gets.
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