Mae Among the Stars

Mae Among the Stars
Illustrator: Stasia Burrington
Published: 1/9/2018

Reinberger Review

A biography of the life of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman who was daring enough to travel in space. When a young Mae discusses a what-do-you-want-to-be assignment from school with her parents, she shares her dream of traveling to space one day. Her mother explains that if she wants to travel to space she would need to become an astronaut. Mae is excited about the thought and she researches about space and astronauts. She even makes her own astronaut suit out of curtains and cardboard boxes. But, when she shares her dream in school, her peers mock her. Even worse, her teacher suggests she reconsider. “Mae, are you sure you don’t want to be a nurse? Nursing would be a good profession for someone like you.” The simple ink and digitally rendered cartoon-like illustrations unveil change in Mae’s mood. When she talks about her dreams while at home, the colors are warm yellow, greens and blues. Quickly though, they change to a wash of blue after Mae’s dreams are crushed by her teacher. Throughout the story, Mae’s mother and father remind her of the family motto: “If I can dream it, if I can believe in it, and if I work hard for it, anything is possible.” Her mother encourages Mae to repeat this to herself always, and May promises to wave to her parents from her spaceship, which she does.

-Michelle Baldini

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