The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Children’s Nonfiction, Picture Book, Biography
Published: 4 Sep 2018 by Innovation Press
Page count: 40 (print length)
My Format: eBook via Hoopla
Cover: Adorable
Pacing: Great
Ending: Perfect  
Do I Recommend: Absolutely
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Girl with a Mind for Math

My rating: ★★★★★

Meet Raye Montague―the hidden mastermind who made waves in the U.S. Navy!

After touring a German submarine in the early 1940s, young Raye set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know sexism and racial inequality would challenge that dream every step of the way, even keeping her greatest career accomplishment a secret for decades. Through it all, the gifted mathematician persisted―finally gaining her well-deserved title in history: a pioneer who changed the course of ship design forever.

My Thoughts
I wanted to highlight some amazing women for Women’s History Month, and I love children and middle grade books, so I was perusing Hoopla for young reader books that honor and celebrate remarkable or pioneering women. Thankfully, I came across this amazing book. Here are my pros and cons for The Girl with a Mind for Math:


  1. I’ve never heard of Raye Montague and that’s a shame. What a remarkable woman she was! She was the first person to design a Navy ship using a computer system… and she did it in 19 hours!!
  2. This picture book does a great job of outlining her life, her struggles as an African American woman, and her amazing patience and persistence to succeed despite the obstacles put in her way.
  3. The illustrations in the book (by Daniel Rieley) are simple, but effective in supporting the story.
  4. The story is written in verse and it reads very smoothly. There aren’t too many words per page, but some terminology could be challenging for very young children (e.g., blueprints, engineers, segregated, measurements, calculations). However, this is how kids learn new words, so I still think this is a positive aspect of the book. Just be prepared to provide definitions!
  5. The end of the book includes more detailed information about Raye’s life, excerpts from an interview with Raye, a timeline of her life, and pictures. There is even a message included in the back of the book to readers from Raye herself, encouraging children to study hard and stay focused.


If you have never heard of Raye Montague before, like me, I encourage you to at least peek at her Wikipedia page, or google her and read one of the many other websites with information about her. If you have a STEM-oriented child, I highly recommend this book. Raye proves that perseverance and hard work is worth it and that is a good message for children.

Raye unfortunately passed away just after this children’s book was published. I would have loved to meet her.

Written for reading age level 5 to 10 years.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Girl with a Mind for Math. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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