Book Review- Mae Among the Stars

Mae Among The Stars by Rosa Ahmed, illustrations by Stasia Burrington, has received quite a few reviews with criticism for not being detailed enough about how Dr. Mae Jemison actually grew up to become the first African American woman in Space (although the back page gives info on this, it’s not incorporated into the storyline text). I too was left wondering how she accomplished her dream but I appreciate when a book leaves you wanting for more and you find yourself researching the topic afterwards.

As a teacher of young learners, I found this book just right for them! The text is simple and repetitive, which makes it effective as a read aloud. The text that repeats itself comes from Mae’s parents, “…if you dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

It all begins with a school assignment. What do you want to be when you grow up? Mae wants to grow up and see earth from far away. Her mom tells her that means she wants to be an “astronaut. She’s so excited to know what she wants to be and to share her dream with her teacher. Unfortunately, Mae’s dream is met with skepticism on the part of the teacher (it’s the 1960’s) and she’s told she should consider becoming a nurse instead. Disappointed and feeling her world has turned blue (the illustrations become blue), Mae rides the bus home sadly. When she arrives home, Mae tells her mom what the teacher said. Her mom comforts her & encourages her. She apologizes that the teacher wasn’t encouraging. Once again we hear the repeated text, “…if you dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”

My kiddos pretended to be astronauts after this reading – yes all of them- girls and boys. And suddenly everyone wanted to travel to Space like Mae. While I’m sure there’s a good chance their hopes and dreams will change as they get older, I hope they will keep the words of Mae’s parents in their hearts. They can be anything they want to be, if they dream it, believe it and work hard for it. I highly recommend this inspiring picture book.


#picturebooks #kidslit #childrensbooks #diversebooksmatter

Author: Cindy Pabon

Has a Master’s level license in Birth-Kindergarten. Believes in the benefits of nature and teaching young learners the importance of the world around us. So much can be learned if we stop to observe a plant, a bird or think of what wonderful thing this interesting stick could be! (Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason & Reggio Inspired teacher).

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