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Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life

Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life

by Mae Jemison, Mae Jamison, Dr Mae Jemison

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Mae Jemison made history as the first African-American woman in space. But she's also taken center stage as an actress, scientist, doctor, and teacher-not to mention all the "top ten" lists she's made, including People's 50 Most Beautiful People and the 1999 White House Project's list of the 7 women most likely to be elected President. The adventures of her life make


Mae Jemison made history as the first African-American woman in space. But she's also taken center stage as an actress, scientist, doctor, and teacher-not to mention all the "top ten" lists she's made, including People's 50 Most Beautiful People and the 1999 White House Project's list of the 7 women most likely to be elected President. The adventures of her life make for a truly compelling read. And to top it all off, with her charming sense of humor, Mae is a remarkable storyteller. The variety and richness of Mae Jemison's experiences will inspire every reader who picks up this book.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an accessible, conversational tone, first-time children's author Jemison offers insight into her remarkable life, from her announcement in kindergarten, in 1961, that she wanted "to be a scientist" to her realization of her dream as "the first woman of color in the world to travel into space." Jemison observes, "I'm struck by how the flow of life events is like the wind," and, as if sitting on a stoop, she gathers readers in as she recounts the "large, small and medium-sized moments that have carried me aloft to this place, this day." At times, the wind metaphor becomes overblown, and a few digressions lead the narrative astray (e.g., a passage about being hit on the head by a sibling; a brief treatise directed at readers, "Take the high school and college romance, boy/girl stuff, with a huge grain of salt..."). But the writing sings, for example, when Jemison recalls her blossoming interest in science, relating her work on a third grade report about "the evolution of life on planet Earth" and a high school sickle-cell anemia project (students could almost follow the process she outlines here as a blueprint for their own science fair projects). Another standout section is her account of a high school gang's attempt to draft her older brother; her parents' response to the situation, which speaks volumes about their unwavering commitment to their family and education, clearly influenced the author. Some readers may wish for more of the defining moments that made Jemison a hero. (The author glosses over her jump from the Peace Corps to NASA, for instance.) However, this inspiring autobiography is a testimony to the power of setting goals and the strength of character necessary to achieve them. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
From her earliest memories of childhood in Decatur, Alabama, through growing up in Chicago, to success at Stanford University and Cornell Medical School, Mae Jemison shares her life's story with young readers. Jemison, now in her early forties, has packed enough into life to serve as multiple role models to girls who wonder what their futures might hold. Her autobiography is written in an episodic and conversational, sometimes awkward, style that is easily accessible to youngsters. Early in the book, especially, Dr. Jemison describes growing up in a warm, protective African-American family and draws the reader in with funny, tender memories and insights. The second part of the book recounts her whirlwind progress through Stanford and Cornell, her stint as a Peace Corps medical officer in West Africa, and her crowning achievement as the first African-American woman in space. Frequent dashes of her pithily articulated philosophy add zest to the ride. The reader may, however, finally wonder whether Dr. Jemison has ever failed in anything she attempted. Nonetheless, her over-riding metaphor of following the wind with an open questing mind is an appropriate one for this impressive woman, whose life is a work-in-progress. 2001, Scholastic Press, $16.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Michele Tremaine
Familiarity and energy combine to make this autobiography more of a slumber party chat than a dry life saga. Jemison's upbeat, casual voice propels the story through sibling rivalry in Alabama to Chicago science fairs and from Stanford University chemical engineering to Peace Corps medical service. Precocious, independent, and driven to learn, former NASA astronaut and Dartmouth professor Jemison serves as a role model for all. As entertaining as her personal anecdotes are, more compelling might be the context in which Jemison must place them. She catalogs the unwritten rules for African Americans in the 1960s South, explores her fascination with black history, details her first research endeavors with sickle cell disease, and lists problems finding literary role models. Jemison explains her naïveté entering Stanford at age sixteen, ill prepared to deal with professorial biases based on gender and age. Whether sitting on a Chicago stoop with her gang, improvising in the kitchen, pursuing a love of dance, or discovering the slums of Kenya, Jemison's spirit, common sense, and honesty create a distinctly self-aware, humble perspective. This book would be a good read for any required nonfiction assignment but also would serve exceptionally well in social studies classes and programs for gifted students. Jemison's attitude demonstrates a reflective, sensitive nature. Her autobiography deserves a wide readership. Photos. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Scholastic, 208p, $16.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Patti SylvesterSpencer SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space, has been creating her own wind, and following it, for much of her life, as this conversational autobiography reveals. Beginning with a childhood desire to be a scientist, she moved steadily toward that goal. She graduated from an integrated south side Chicago high school at 16. At Stanford, where she received a degree in chemical engineering, she encountered, for the first time, teachers who doubted her ability because of her gender and her race. One summer, while attending Cornell Medical School, she went to Africa. After a rotating general practice internship, she returned to Africa to serve as Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone for two and a half years. Returning to the States to work as a doctor in Los Angeles, she applied for astronaut training. Jemison recounts her story in a chatty mode, with occasional digressions and side comments. Readers who have followed her roughly chronological path from birth to Africa will be surprised to find her suddenly launched into space before the flashback to astronaut selection and training. The last short section covering her astronaut experiences will disappoint readers who have enjoyed the more discursive pace of the rest of the book and the many memorable vignettes, such as the tone-deaf Jemison auditioning for West Side Story. The sometimes awkward flow of the prose is unfortunate in this otherwise appealing glimpse into the early life of an impressive woman already inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.83(w) x 8.55(h) x 0.77(d)
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

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