Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing

Illustrated by Lucy Knisley (Knopf, May 2017)

Margaret Hamilton grew up wondering why the stars shone and how the planets moved. She threw herself into mathematics to find answers to her questions, then discovered a whole new way to understand the universe: computers! Working with the United States space program, Margaret used this amazing new invention to get astronauts all the way to the moon. And when the first lunar landing went haywire, her brilliant computer programming saved the day.

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Starred review: Beginning with Margaret Hamilton’s early life as a curious girl who questioned (and studied) everything, Dean Robbins moves briskly through her career path, from teaching herself how to write computer code to assisting with the 1969 moon landing and other NASA missions. Lucy Knisley’s crisp cartooning approaches Hamilton’s story with reverence for her accomplishments, as well as humor. As the contributions of women in STEM fields gain increased attention and appreciation, Robbins and Knisley deliver an inspiring tribute to a true innovator.

— Publishers Weekly

Starred review: Dean Robbins successfully translates a complicated subject into an engaging text, with just the right amount of scientific information for young readers. Lucy Knisley’s cartoonish illustrations perfectly capture Margaret’s inquisitive spirit while keeping the story light and child-friendly. A superb introduction to the life of one girl whose dreams were out of this world.

— Kirkus Reviews

Starred review: Margaret Hamilton was the first scientist to call herself a software engineer. Her important contributions to space travel, especially the Apollo 11 mission, are recounted for the youngest readers in this engaging picture book biography. Short declarative sentences and bright, simple illustrations give readers a picture of girl who was always curious to know more about her world, and was determined to find out the answers herself.

— Youth Services Book Review

‘Margaret and the Moon’ tells a crucial hidden story, and does it with wonder and elegance that fit well with the hard-working quiet heroism of its protagonist. The author, Dean Robbins, and illustrator, Lucy Knisley, have found a lovely balance of word and image marching together to achieve precisely the right effect at all times. Robbins’ voice is simple and unaffected, with a delightful ability to move from the scale of the cosmic to the confines of the lone problem solver without feeling out of place in either. Margaret Hamilton was a great programmer, but more than that, as ‘Margaret and the Moon’ brings beautifully to life, she was a person who loved the challenge of pondering and preparing for all the possibilities that reality can throw at our beleaguered species, a creator of plans and counter-plans, an organizer and a completionist. We all know a kid like that, and now it’s up to you to find that kid and put this book in her hands. The world will be glad that you did.

— Women You Should Know

Entertaining and illuminating, this book has many curricular connections, including space travel, women’s history, inventions, and coding. Cartoon-style illustrations add a sense of levity, making Margaret Hamilton’s complex jobs accessible and appealing to a young audience. The author was able to interview Hamilton, and an informative note explains more about her life and career.

— School Library Journal

The thrilling story of the woman who made the Apollo 11 mission possible. Lucy Knisley’s bold, vibrant illustrations feature shimmering night-sky constellations, clunky, old-school computers and super-duper spacecraft. Young readers will love Margaret, with her oversize glasses and can-do attitude. This is a standout tribute to a brilliant, brave female who was unafraid to test the boundaries of her own intelligence and who was awarded in 2016 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

— BookPage

Dean Robbins tells the story of pioneering software engineer Margaret Hamilton, whose programs helped NASA land astronauts on the moon. In Lucy Knisely’s genial, cartoonish illustrations, young Margaret gazes, wide-eyed, at constellation-filled skies and zips around with a pale yellow moon, nicely visualizing the boundlessness of her aspirations. A worthy addition to collections of picture-book biographies of scientists.

— Booklist

A must-read for strong girls and those who love and support them.

— American Booksellers Association Summer 2017 Kids’ Indie Next List

Computer science doesn’t come immediately to mind as a rich field from which children’s literature might grow, and yet Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deftly tell a story that is at once moving and exciting. It is a testament to the skill of the author and illustrator that the book will be for many readers the first biography they ever read, an early introduction to the Apollo program, and an inspiring story of how science and engineering are done—and the book excels at all three.

— NOW.SPACE

Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.

— Children’s Book Review

Margaret Hamilton’s passion for math brought her to MIT and NASA, where she helped to put a man on the moon. The fun and usefulness of computer science are evident in this beautifully illustrated biography that will inspire any child to cultivate a vision and see the power of math to solve problems.

— Brightly

Spring 2017’s Best Children’s Books: ‘Margaret and the Moon’ belongs in the hands of young dreamers everywhere.

— Bookish

Robbins keeps the tone playful and light, showing the hard work behind Margaret Hamilton’s accomplishments and her inquisitive nature as the keys to her success. A wonderful example of women in STEM, this picture book speaks to the power of brains and determination.

— Waking Brain Cells

A fun story about a woman who pioneered computer programming and played an important role in the space program. The text is engagingly conversational, and the graphic novel-style illustrations make it kid-friendly.

— A Kids Book a Day

Margaret Hamilton loved to solve all kinds of problems, coming up with original ideas. She wondered why more girls didn’t grow up to be doctors or scientists, so she studied hard and finally convinced NASA to use her software programs to get astronauts to the moon and back. Cartoon illustrations complement the conversational text in this empowering sketch.

— Reading Rockets

A perfect combination of text and pictures for a dynamic read-aloud for elementary students.

— Kiss the Book

An interesting biography told with just enough detail to make it accessible and interesting for elementary readers. Margaret Hamilton’s story shows the importance of hard work and problem solving.

— Literacy on the Mind

An excellent addition for libraries and classrooms.

— Comics Worth Reading