NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison celebrated her birthday on Saturday by revealing the cover art exclusively with Blavity News for the second edition of her memoir, Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life.
Originally written in 2001, the book captures Jemison's rise from her childhood dreams to becoming a world-renowned astronaut. The new edition, which is written for young adults, will include vivid illustrations when it comes out in late November.
"Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life" is an uplifting story about following what you love in childhood to accomplish big dreams. The new edition, which includes cool new cover art by Mike Ocasio and illustrations by Studio NYC, will be released in hardcover in November 2020. It is updated with imaginative and exciting features that aim to resonate with its intended audience of teen and young adult readers.
As a child, Dr. Jemison — who grew up to become a chemical engineer, physician, scientist and the first Black woman astronaut to travel to space in 1992 — was always curious about science and space.
She went on to attend Cornell Medical School in New York and later moved to Sierra Leone to serve as Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for nearly three years. She worked as a doctor in Los Angeles after returning to the United States before applying to NASA.
Sharing an excerpt from the 2001 edition of her book, Jemison recalled an unforgettable moment from her kindergarten class. She remembers expressing her desire to someday become a scientist — but her teacher appeared surprised after hearing Jemison's answer. "Don't you mean a nurse?'" Jemison recalled her saying.
"I can't say I know exactly what was wrong with my answer," the Chicago native said. "Maybe she was thrown off by the skinny, brown-skin girl with short hair who despite her babysitter's best effort might come to school a bit disheveled."
As the astronaut explained, becoming a scientist in 1961 wasn't in the realm of possibility for most people, especially Black women. Yet she remained determined, and went on to break barriers and make history.
On Saturday, the 64-year-old received recognition from many of her colleagues and fans on her birthday.
✨Happy Birthday to Mae Jemison, American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut!
She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and orbited the Earth for nearly 8 days in 1992. pic.twitter.com/441Kchms4n
— The Space Collective (@NASA_Gift_Shop) October 17, 2020
The special day gave many admirers a chance to reflect on Jemison's inspiring words.
"Looking out the window of that space shuttle, I thought if that little girl in Chicago could see her older self now, she would have a huge grin on her face." Happy 64th birthday to Mae Jemison, first woman of color in space! https://t.co/YHJBCm79Ds
— A Mighty Girl (@amightygirl) October 17, 2020
One 8-year-old girl with dreams of her own wrote a poem to the astronaut.
— Ellie Pyemont (@elliepyemont) October 17, 2020
Author Marina Amaral recalled the astronaut's decision to resign from NASA in 1993 and form her own technology company.
Happy birthday to Mae Jemison, the 1st African American woman in space as a Mission Specialist on the Endeavour (STS-47). An employee of NASA since 1987 Jemison resigned in 1993 to form her own technology company. pic.twitter.com/ig2iWWOUNQ
— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) October 17, 2020
Jemison credits her passion for dancing as part of the reason why she became a successful astronaut. The trailblazer, who explained the similarities to a 12-year-old girl, said astronauts are required to be like dancers, rehearsing constantly and focusing on the people around them while remembering the choreography in their head.
"At the core of them are creativity, because I wanted to help influence where the world went," Jemison said, according to CNN. "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."
The dancing enthusiast also discussed the dozens of other aspirations she had as a child.
"I also wanted to be an architect and a designer," she told CNN. "I wanted to use my energy and my ideas to design new things, to explore the world around me."
Jemison was only a child when she realized the lack of diversity among astronauts.
"I was this child who looked at the astronauts and I says 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. Why are all the astronauts white males?'" the dreamer said. "I imagined what if the aliens actually saw them and said 'Are these the only people on Earth?'"
According to C-SPAN, the scientist joined a group of students in 2001 and discussed the first edition of Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life. Addressing the young adults, Jemison said she wrote the book to advise teenagers to pay attention to the lessons they learn in life.
"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," she said.