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Fly Girls

How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, Young Readers' Edition, by Keith O'Brien

· MG Books
Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, Young Readers' Edition, by Keith O'Brien

I know corona virus is taking up everyone's time and attention right now, but I'd like to keep publishing reviews of women-centric literature for Women's History month.

This is an excellent non-fiction narrative of how five women -- Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, Ruth Elder and Florence Klingensmith (who gets the least amount in this edition, as she dies fairly soon after she's introduced) -- blazed a path for women pilots.

Starting in the 1920s, women pilots began garnering attention. They had a discouraging lack of support from aviation goliath Charles Lindberg and other men who felt flying was a man's domain.

These women scraped together the money and courage to hurtle through the sky at a time when flying almost always equaled crashing, and in fact killed several of them.

There's a glossary, it's fully indexed (nice, for reference purposes) and there's 60+ pages of source notes, which are also fantastic to encourage students to do more research. Black and white pictures of the women and the men they competed against are included at regular intervals, including an astounding one of the 100-pound trophy for the winner of the Bendix transcontinental race!

The author also does a fantastic job of making connections between these women's lives and the struggles students and their families may be facing today. For instance, he highlights how Earhart's job as a social worker put her in touch with immigrants who were "struggling under new anti-immigration policies" and how one pilot was forced to quit her job as an instructor at a flight school when she got pregnant because "employers at the time didn't like pregnant women working."

An excellent read you're sure to enjoy!

Teachers Note: I can recommend this book for your bookshelves, but Scholastic, the young readers' edition publisher, doesn't offer a free educator's guide or Common Core standards correlations to go along with it. Shame, particularly right now, when teachers and parents are looking for resources due to to social-distancing.

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