Dow Phumiruk, Lone Tree resident and member of the Lone Tree Arts Commission, has illustrated 15 children’s books, including “Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13”.
This book was recently chosen for Storytime From Space, a project of the Global Space Education Foundation that sends children’s books to the International Space Station.
Astronaut Megan McArthur will read the book from space, and a recording will be available on the Storytime From Space website.
The book details the story of Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA during the Space Race. His save procedures and maps helped save the Apollo 13 crew after their mission to the moon was interrupted.
“It was the space race then, so they say ‘Whoever wants to help us beat everyone on the moon, sign up.’ And at the time, because we didn’t have real computers like machine-computers, they hired people to do the math, ”said Phumiruk.
“And the men actually thought it was too boring and too tedious, so they handed it over to the women. And there were probably around 200 black women working for NASA at the time, which is amazing because we never heard of them until recently.
The original book was published in 2018. A second edition was published in the UK the following year for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Among other accolades, the book won the Center for Children’s Literature’s Cook Award and the UK LA Literary Association’s Inaugural Information Book Award. Phumiruk also said that around 10,000 copies have been sold in the US and UK.
Phumiruk has not always been a professional illustrator. She explained that she loved art as a child, but becoming a stay-at-home mom to her daughters from 2002 to 2006 led her to take up art again.
“Being at home with the kids, I really had the opportunity to really explore my artistic side, and I realized that was such a big part of me. There’s no way I can ever leave this part behind. In fact, it’s taken care of, ”said Phumiruk.
Phumiruk began to learn on her own and research techniques. In 2011, she joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers.
“This is where I really took off with my art, because I went to conferences and I met other artists in the neighborhood and I had a review group, and I had an agent can – to be four years after joining this organization, ”said Phumiruk. .
Phumiruk previously worked as a pediatrician, taught part-time at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and worked on illustrations. She soon realized that it was too overwhelming.
Phumiruk said, “I have come to a crisis, I can’t do it all. I can’t raise the kids, be a doctor, teach med school and all that, and I ended up choosing to just teach and practice the art.
She expected to return to pediatrics, but was later picked up by her agent and started working on paid projects.
Phumiruk’s latest book, “Hello, Tree” was written by Ana Crespo, who is also from Colorado. It follows a little girl who finds friendship in a tree during the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs in 2013. “Hello, Tree” will be released on September 14th.