Photo via: Chicago Tribune
Ten-year-old Akosua Haynes recently received a huge honor from the Library of Congress after writing a letter to “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly about how her book inspired her to become an astronaut when she gets older.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Haynes wrote her note as part of the federal institution’s writing contest, which encourages youth to pen a letter to authors who inspire them. In Hayne’s letter, she shared how reading “Hidden Figures: The Story of African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race” inspired her to want to work for NASA as an adult.
“When I read about the discrimination that Katherine and the computers had to put up with (people not trusting them, separate bathrooms), it made me think what it would have been like to live in the Jim Crow time period,” Haynes told the Chicago Tribune. "I asked myself if I would have been able to work so well under pressure. I felt proud of Ms. Johnson."
The Chicago fifth-grader says she wanted Shetterly to know how her book motivated her to take her math skills to a new level and how she’s working to be more like Katherine Johnson each day. Haynes also revealed that she loved the book so much that she made up a rule that would encourage her friends to read it as well. As part of her birthday party invitation, she told her friends they had to read at least two-thirds of the book so they could have an interesting discussion about it later on.
Haynes, who won first place in the competition for the fourth through sixth grade division, accepted her award alongside 13-year-old Rylee Paige Johnson. Johnson won for the seventh and eighth-grade division after writing a letter to author Gabrielle Zevin and sharing how her book "Elsewhere" helped her to cope with the death of her mother.