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|Born To Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America|
Author: Sheinkin, Steve
The story of the 1929 Women's Air Derby, the first official all-female air race in the U.S.
Kirkus Reviews (07/01/19)
School Library Journal (09/01/19)
Booklist (+) (08/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/09/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2019 *Starred Review* Scrappy, determined, and fearless. That’s what the 20 fliers, including Louise Thaden, Pancho Barnes, Ruth Elder, and Amelia Earhart, who entered the Women’s Air Derby in 1929 had in common. Award-winning author Sheinkin (Undefeated, 2017) sets the stage for this first female transcontinental air race, from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio, with brief stories of the fliers' formative years and profiles of Bessie Coleman and other pioneering aviators. The heart of the book, however, is the tension-filled race. In addition to the sexism surrounding the event, there was extreme risk. Without modern GPS, autopilots, and control towers, fliers navigated with road maps, their own sight, and plenty of nerve and luck. The race was punctuated with a fire aboard a wooden plane, “crack-up” accidents, unbelievable repairs, sabotage, and even death. Sheinkin’s storylike narration puts readers right into the action, making them gasp and cheer along with the fliers. Period photographs and illustrated scenes heighten the interest. While rivalry drove the women’s ambition, the author also emphasizes how their determination in a male-dominated society drove their camaraderie. Concluding chapters follow the fliers’ lives after the race, explain why readers often remember Amelia Earhart above others, and impart the impact they had on future women in aviation and in space. This book soars as it details these often overlooked figures from history. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2019 Gr 5–8—Using a collected biographical approach, Sheinkin presents the history of early American aviation and the changing role of women in society, culminating in the Women's Air Derby of 1929. Women made up a small percentage of pilots in the 1920s, and societal norms prevented them from competing in air races until the 1929 derby. The 20 women who participated in the derby came from all walks of life. Most Americans recognize the name Amelia Earhart, but Sheinkin introduces many other female pilots, including Marvel Crosson, Ruth Elder, Bobbi Trout, and Pancho Barnes, who all took part in the daring and fearless days of flight in its infancy. Flight races were particularly intense for spectators and participants alike as the inherent danger usually meant that at least one pilot died per race. While women received the right to vote in 1920, the facade of female frailty was still a widely held belief in 1929 and used to justify protesting the all-female air derby that stretched from Santa Monica, CA, to Cleveland. The question of sabotage, engineering design flaws, and interpersonal relationships made an inherently difficult undertaking exponentially more dangerous for all the pilots in the 1929 derby. VERDICT Sheinkin's thorough research and attention to detail make the era come alive for readers. Fans of Keith O'Brien's Fly Girls will greatly enjoy this book. Highly recommended for all middle school libraries.—Susan Catlett, Green Run High School, Virginia Beach - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.