In this lively, vivid memoir, Mae Jemison tells of her inspiring journey, from a young girl growing up in the south to an astronaut and becoming the first woman of color in space. Written in an engaging, entertaining style, she recounts her life up until shortly after she resigned from NASA, including her escapades as a child and young adult, her experiences as a doctor in Africa, and, of course, her training and historic spaceflight as an astronaut at NASA.
I’ve been interested in Mae Jemison for a while, and recently ended up doing a school report on her, which led me to this book. I loved it for several reasons. First of all, the author’s way of writing makes you feel like you’re being told all these stories by an older sister or cousin, proud of some things, amused by others, and rolling her eyes at some of her more humorous attempts at various skills and projects. It didn’t feel like the story was being written down to younger readers at all, which I also appreciated.
Find Where the Wind Goes is usually categorized as Young Adult, and I think that readers ages ten and up will likely enjoy it the most. Mae grew up in the south during the 1960s, and while she did not directly experience violence, it was not uncommon at the time in the black community. There were dangers that were a part of her childhood, and while there’s certainly nothing graphic or anything, I think that it’s just one of those books that’s better once you’ve learned about that period in history.
The story is wonderful and often amusing, and the narration feels informal and fun: this is a book I would recommend to fans of not just history or space travel, but also those looking for a story about making friends, taking chances, and following your dreams.
Note: If you enjoyed this book, I recommend learning more about Mae Jemison’s work after she left NASA—she’s done some really interesting stuff, in science, work for social justice, and more!