Nichelle Nichols inspired many throughout her life, and her legacy lives on; now the late Star Trek icon is the subject of a new children’s book. TrekMovie has an exclusive first look at To Boldly Go: How Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek Helped Advance Civil Rights along with some background from the author.
To Boldly Go tells Nichelle Nichols’ story to kids
To Boldly Go tells the true story of Nichelle Nichols and how she used her platform on Star Trek to inspire and recruit a new generation of diverse astronauts and many others in the space and STEM fields. The book is written by Angela Dalton, a former video game producer and now an award-winning author of children’s books. The Oakland, California-based writer started her new career by self-publishing If You Look Up to the Sky and has since had books released by Viking and Harper Collins, who are publishing To Boldly Go. For her new book about Nichelle Nichols, she teamed up with NYC-based Lauren Semmer, who illustrated the New York Times bestselling picture book The ABC’s of Black History.
Dalton explains to TrekMovie how she was inspired to write a children’s book about Nichelle Nichols:
The idea for To Boldly Go began while I was standing in the checkout line at Target. Time magazine’s Star Trek 50th anniversary special edition and the beautiful Ms. Nichelle on the cover as Lieutenant Uhura grabbed my attention. There was zero hesitation in my grabbing it and buying a copy. As I read the many wonderful interviews and essays about Star Trek, the actors, and the impact the show has had on many generations, I was reminded how much the Star Trek canon had been monumental in my own childhood, teen years, and adulthood.
But it wasn’t until a few days later, while I was watching season five of Drunk History and their recreation of the moment Nichelle Nichols met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his begging her to return to the Star Trek series that I realized there was potential for a book. Call it what you like, chance or a miracle, but had that meeting not happened, Ms. Nichols’ career and impact would look very different today. As a children’s book writer, I thought there had to be a children’s book in existence about her and this moment between her and self-admitted Trekker Dr. King. To say I was shocked that there wasn’t a book out already would be an understatement, but I was thrilled at the possibility of having the opportunity to try and write one myself!
The author also talked about how she feels Nichelle’s civil rights story will resonate with kids today:
I think kids are watching what is happening, and what has been happening, in their communities, nationally, and globally. And like many adults, they may be left asking themselves the question, ‘What can I do?’
The beauty of Ms. Nichols’ story, of this historical meeting between her and Dr. King, is that it shows that even when things don’t work out for us as individuals, we can make an impact for ourselves and others just by being present. Additionally, once we realize that we’re making an impact, the question then becomes, ‘How do I do more?’ In my author’s note, I discuss the significant work she did to diversify NASA’s astronaut program and invite the reader to “be inspired to dream big, believe in the importance of those dreams, and ‘boldly go’ wherever they may take you.” This is what I hope children and adults reading her story will take away—not just in her honor, but as they forge their own uniquely beautiful path and wondrous futures.
Dalton wrapped up our conversation by expressing her hopes for To Boldly Go:
I do hope this book will introduce the Star Trek canon to a whole new generation of future fans. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of an equitable and diverse future gives us all hope in hopeless times. And right now, a sense of hope feels like something we all urgently need.
Arriving next week
To Boldly Go: How Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek Helped Advance Civil Rights is being released by Harper Collins on Tuesday, January 17. The 40-page illustrated book is available to pre-order at Amazon in hardcover for $18.99 and Kindle eBook for $10.96.
Meet the authors event
The newly launched Nichelle Nichols Foundation is hosting their first “Hailing Frequencies Open” speakers series event with an online chat with To Boldly Go author Angela Dalton and illustrator Lauren Semmer on Saturday, January 21st at 10 am PST. They will be joined by Foundation advisor Dr. Sian Proctor and the event will be hosted by Star Trek: Prodigy voice actress Bonnie Gordon. The online event will be streamed live on YouTube.
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