Book Review: Classified

I’m switching up the review format on the blog and hope you like it. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


Title: Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer

Author: Traci Sorell
Series: None
Series Order: Standalone

Illustrator: Natasha Donovan
Genre: Picture Book, Nonfiction
Release Date: March 2021


Classified is a non-fiction picture book about Cherokee aerospace engineer Mary Golda Ross, Lockheed’s first female engineer who helped pave the way for others. She worked on several notable project over the course of her career. But this book goes beyond her career and introduces readers to her life and the Cherokee values instilled within her—like humility, working with others, and education.

Charming illustrations offer additional insights and convey a classic time period feel. I loved seeing the different plans and the graphs incorporated into the pictures.

I also loved that Classified offers more than a typical biography written for children. The way the Cherokee values are incorporated into the the story, readers gain sense of how these values influenced and enhanced Mary Golda Ross’s life. There is so much packed into this 32-page picture book—between the story itself and the supplemental information at the end. Classified would be a wonderful addition to any home or classroom library.


Mary Golda Ross designed classified airplanes and spacecraft as Lockheed Aircraft Corporation’s first female engineer. Find out how her passion for math and the Cherokee values she was raised with shaped her life and work.

Cherokee author Traci Sorell and Métis illustrator Natasha Donovan trace Ross’s journey from being the only girl in a high school math class to becoming a teacher to pursuing an engineering degree, joining the top-secret Skunk Works division of Lockheed, and being a mentor for Native Americans and young women interested in engineering. In addition, the narrative highlights Cherokee values including education, working cooperatively, remaining humble, and helping ensure equal opportunity and education for all.

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Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Text for hosting #IMWAYR. Check out the other It’s Monday! What Are You Reading posts!

Published by K.A. Cummins

K.A. Cummins is an award-winning author and artist. Her publications include Havok Publishing, Rattle, Blue Mesa Review, and her middle-grade series, Snow Globe Travelers.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Classified

  1. It does seem to pack a lot in for a picture book, and I have really enjoyed a few of her other books. I should be looking for this, thanks for the share.

  2. I like your new review format! The At-a-Glance section is especially helpful—it’s nice to know things like series order and fiction/nonfiction immediately. And this book sounds excellent! I’m actually hoping to read a graphic novel illustrated by this illustrator, Borders, at some point (it would probably help if I actually got a copy). And it’s wonderful that this book examines the life of someone I am unfamiliar with in as much detail as it does. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review!

  3. This sounds really good. I have family ties to Lockheed from many moons ago, so it’s especially of interest to me. Thank you for sharing, K.A.!

  4. I will search for this. What a wonderful book to share today, the International Day of The Girl! Thanks!

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