The true story of an African-American woman who broke barriers by reaching her potential as an engineer.
When Raye Montague saw a submarine at age 7 and learned that an engineer had built it, she found her calling. Her mother told her to stay strong and not let those who looked down on her because of her race and her gender hold her back. She attended segregated schools, and in college she was told that engineering was not taught to black students, so she majored in business. She became a typist in a place where they built submarines, and although her boss underestimated her, Raye paid attention at work and took classes at night. When the flu had most of the staff out sick, Raye did the engineers’ work “from MEMORY.” She got promoted and went on to design the first ship by computer. It was not all smooth sailing, though; only white men were invited to the unveiling of the ship she had designed, and she was still treated with disrespect. The use of perspective and artful composition in the simple illustrations conveys Montague’s isolation and her determination. The text, in light rhyming verse, condemns the unfair treatment she received (“No invite?! / ABHORRIBLE!”)—a great model for building awareness of racism and solid inspiration for achieving against the odds. The author interviewed Montague for her research, and further information culled from the conversation appears in the backmatter.
A fun read and an uplifting story. (timeline, biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)