One of Mae Jemison’s teachers suggested that she should maybe think about becoming a nurse instead of an astronaut. Since the book’s about the first African-American female astronaut, we know how that advice worked out. It’s an inspirational story, sweetly illustrated and simply told, and it’s a nice addition to any collection of biographies – of people who have overcome, of African-American leaders, of girls and women who resisted stereotypes, of dreamers.
I’m not picking on nurses or teachers here. Nursing is a great profession for anyone. So is teaching, and it’s actually the rare teacher now (I think) who would tell a little girl that she should maybe change her goals to fit with something more socially appropriate. As an adult, it’s a good reminder of the impact we have in children’s lives and that they sometimes remember for a very long time when we show them that we don’t think they can be who they’re hoping to become. It’s more helpful to support them, while letting them know what they actually have to accomplish to reach that goal. As kids, we don’t really understand all the steps it takes to become an astronaut or a teacher or a nurse, but the right adult(s) can help a child nurture that dream into reality.
Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington