Aim for the stars, and if you fall, you’ll land on the moon.
Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison announced the release date for the second edition of her upcoming memoir, “Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life.” The novel she wrote to “energize a new generation,” candidly delves into stories from her childhood that illuminate how she came to be the space pioneer.
“I wrote this book to share with my 16-year-old self some of the adventures she would have in life, and just as important, clues to how she made it through,” Jemison said in a statement provided to Because Of Them We Can.
In 1992, she made history as the first Black woman astronaut to travel to space. A Chicago native, Jemison was always curious about science and space. She credits her love for dancing as the reason why she was successful as an astronaut. To Jemison, there were similarities between the two, even down to the choreography that one must learn for both.
“At the core of them are creativity because I wanted to help influence where the world went. I wanted to use my energy and my ideas to design new things, to explore the world around me. And we’re very physical beings, so dance is a way of physically exploring the world,” Jemison told Blavity.
In school, the engineer said she was once challenged by a teacher who didn’t think a career as a scientist was a viable option for her, suggesting she become a nurse instead. But that didn’t stop her from dreaming; it motivated her to follow through with her mission. She defied her naysayers, entering Stanford University at 16, majoring in Chemical Engineering and African and Afro-American studies, and then receiving her medical degree from Cornell University.
“I was this child who looked at the astronauts, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute. Why are all the astronauts white males?’ I imagined what if the aliens actually saw them and said, ‘Are these the only people on Earth?'” Jemison said.
The iconic space explorer chronicled much of her humble beginnings and journey to becoming a world-renowned astronaut in her 2001 memoir, “Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life.” Now, she is releasing her second edition, unveiling the cover art last year in honor of her 64th birthday. The book is an endearing story about following your dreams. The latest edition features cover art by Mike Ocasio and illustrations by Studio NYC, focusing on the young adult demographic.
Jemison told Because Of Them We Can that she believes her story will resonate with all ages but that teenagers may see their lives mirrored back to them through her experiences.
“I find there are so many parallels between when I was growing up, and the world teenagers find themselves in today – human rights, social justice, an explosion of science and tech capabilities, space exploration, growing awareness and connections across the globe, evolving music and art, individuals asserting our rights to participate,” Jemison told BOTWC. “I hope this provides some clues to making it through while keeping your smile, integrity, and hopefulness.”
Jemison is a chemical engineer, physician, and scientist by trade who also served in the Peace Corps for three years in Sierra Leone. From there, she began working for NASA. In 1993, she resigned to create her own technology company. She hopes her story can inspire other young children and remind them to pay attention to the lessons they learn in life, and connect the dots in their own stories.
“All of us have adventures, and they’re large, and they’re small. We have to learn from them, and we have to figure out what they mean,” Jemison said.
Find Where the Wind Goes is available for pre-order at all major booksellers and releases in hardcover on February 23, 2021.
Thank you for being a true inspiration, Dr. Jemison!
Photo Courtesy of Associated Press/Cover art by Mike Ocasio