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Dow Phumiruk – Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13

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September 10, 2018 – Our time machine rockets to the moon — and misses — aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13. Saving the day is the African-American woman whose mathematical know-how guided the trio of Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise safely back home.

As a child, Katherine Johnson loved math, and triumphed with her family’s support to learn despite segregated schools of the day. Bringing an out-of-this-word story to life for readers 5 to 9 years of age, is Dow Phumiruk, whose vivid illustrations blast off in Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, written by Helaine Becker.

Dow Phumiruk is a pediatrician with a passion for art who enjoys adventures at home, hiking on the trails of Colorado. Visit her online at or follow her @DowPhumiruk. We previously discussed Dow’s illustrations when we chatted with Jeanne Walker Harvey about their book, Maya Lin: Artist – Architect of Light and Lines.

A special Happy Birthday to Katherine Johnson, who turned 100 years old just a couple of weeks before this episode’s air-date!