Rappahannock Reads: Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures Book Cover

Rappahannock Reads is our invitation to everyone in the community to read the same book and engage in library events reflecting on the book’s themes. 

This Year's Title | Meet the Author | Related Events | MakerLabs

This year’s Rappahannock Reads title is the recently published Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Hidden Figures Young Readers Version

Read the true stories of the amazing African American women who went from teaching math in segregated schools in the 1940s to becoming key scientists at NASA’s Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia. These women dealt with Virginia’s Jim Crow laws requiring them to be separated from white co-workers, even while doing pioneering work during the Space Race. Learn how their lives changed as the Civil Rights Era brought more  opportunities for all people of color. Hidden Figures is on the longlist for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. There is also a special edition of Hidden Figures for Young Readers. 

The book is so compelling that a movie was produced before the book was published! The movie, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner, premiered in January. 

If you want to learn more about the themes explored in Hidden Figures, check out our list of related titles.

Margo Lee ShetterlyMeet the Author!

Saturday, March 4, from 3-5 at the Dodd Auditorium on the University of Mary Washington campus. Free and open to all; no registration required. Doors will open at 2:15pm; no reserved seating. Ms. Shetterly will be speaking about Hidden Figures. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow.

Books may be purchased in advance and will be available for pick up at the event. Email mmock@umw.edu to purchase a copy through the UMW Bookstore. Books will also be sold on site the day of the event. Attendees may bring personal copies for signing.

Margot Lee Shetterly grew up in Hampton, Virginia, where she knew many of the women featured in her book. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, the recipient of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant, and the founder of The Human Computer Project, an organization recognizing the women who worked at National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s.

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting Rappahannock Reads!

UMW Libraries: Platinum SponsorNAACP Stafford Branch: Silver Sponsor
CTI: Bronze Level SponsorHoleman Enterprises: Bronze Level SponsorKappa Foundation of Woodbridge

Copper Level: Delta Sigman ThetaSingleton Enterprises: Copper Level SponsorNathaniel Singleton: Copper Level Sponsor

Other related events:

Many of CRRL's book groups are reading Hidden Figures. Check here for the schedule.


MakerLabsOur MakerLabs at Headquarters Library, England Run, and Porter branches are STEM exploration spaces for customers of all ages to enjoy hands-on learning with a wide variety of high- and low-tech equipment and activities. Thanks to a generous partnership with the University of Mary Washington, library staff, volunteers, and university students teach customers of all ages about aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through demonstrations and hands-on activities, including a 3D printer, paper rocket launcher, robot arms, Ozobots, and much more. There are usually 2-3 activities available during any given MakerLab session. 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a group, please contact Joy McIntire at jmcintire@crrl.org. For the current schedule see www.librarypointorg/makerlabs​.