Sunday, August 11, 2019

Summer Reading 2019 Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America


I could probably stop at - Steve Sheinkin wrote this book - and anyone who has read one of his other works would know what to expect. Sheinkin always tells a full, rich story with tons of details he has learned in his meticulous research about the topic. This time he introduces all the women who participated in the 1929 Air Derby. The one most recognized today would be Amelia Earhart, but there were 20 women in that race across the country. Beginning with their childhood days and their early exploits (jumping off barn roofs, creating their own roller coaster, etc.) the author goes on to tell how each of them entered the field of aviation and make their way to the derby.

Some came from working class families and fell in love with flying after seeing an air show or buying a 5 minute flight over a field near home. Others came from wealthy families and purchased flying lessons and a plane of their own without having to scrimp and save. Whatever their pasts, they all came together to prove that women had the endurance and skills to fly in a cross-country air race just as well as men. And despite the hardships, sabotage, and crashes along the way, they did just that. Sheinkin captures the determination and the inspiration of those amazing women, describing how they pressed on through hardships, mechanical failures, social pressures, and the loss of dear friends in fatal crashes. 

Anyone interested in aviation history, or especially in female pioneers in the field, will enjoy this book. It is written to be age-appropriate for 4th grade and up. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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