Tag Archives: pilots

Having faith in an author

14 Sep

I’m currently  listening to Elizabeth Wein’s  Black Dove White Raven in the car.

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When I popped the first disc in, I felt a little unsure as the story began. It didn’t seem to be much of a story and I was confused by the setting (why didn’t I know the story was set in Ethiopia?). But I loved her two earlier novels, Code Named Verity and Rose Under Fire, so I had faith that the story would pull me in as they had. I’m now on the 4th disc, and it has.

The novel is set in the  Ethiopia of the 1930’s, on the cusp of war with Mussolini’s Italy. Haile Selassie’s coronation, attempts to modernize his country while fending off European aggression and speech to the UN form the historical backdrop. Here is a news clip about his speech  that failed to convince the League of Nations members to help.

This is historical fiction done well. It is also a moving story about friendship what makes a family.

Publisher’s Summary: Emilia and Teo’s lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo’s mother died immediately, but Em’s survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother’s wishes―in a place where he won’t be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won’t be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.

Up in the air, Junior Birdmen!

12 Aug

Sometimes my personal reading crosses paths with my professional reading. In all honesty, the line is often a blur, but there I was reading a decidedly adult book not at all related to kid lit and WHAM, a bunch of library holds arrived that dovetailed with my adult book. Maybe this is more a testament to my library search techniques than coincidence.

I am currently reading A Higher Call  by Adam Makos.

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It is a WWII story about the pilots of a damaged American B-17 bomber on it’s way home from a  mission and a German Me-109 fighter, who meet in the skies above Europe.  I had a little trouble getting started because I don’t especially like Makos’ writing style. Either he;s getting better as the book moves along, or I’m getting used to him. He tells the stories of both pilots, their encounter and what happened afterwards. I wish Makos had included a bibliography and index, but, if you like non-fiction, you should give this one a try.

Interestingly, i just got a pile of picture books about planes from the library. They range from wordless to factual.

The Boy and the Airplane  by Mark Pett is wordless. It reminds me a little of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree,  but it is a lot happier.

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A little boy os playing with his airplane and it gets stuck on the roof. When his ladder doesn’t reach, and all his other efforts to retrieve the plane fail, he plants a tree. We see his patience as he waits. Finally the tree is tall enough and the old man plays with his airplane again. I love the sepia tones  and the simple illustrations.

Next up is Planes Fly! written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Mick Wiggins, a rhyming book about planes that

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introduces young readers to different types of planes, their parts and their many uses.

Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton by Meghan McCarthy is a picture book biography of an aviation and auto racing pioneer.

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Here is a tale to inspire any radar, but especially young girls.  The simple text is approachable in this book about a little known record breaker from Pensacola, Florida. . The acrylic illustrations are bold and fun at the same time.Unlike   A Higher Call,  the endpapers are full of  notes, quotes, timeline, and bibliography that make this title a starting point for research on Betty Skelton, or other on other women pioneer.

Finally, we have Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Heart  by Julie Cummins and illustrated by Malene R Laugesen.

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We all know about Amelia Earhart, but who has heard of Ruth Elder? She attempted to cross the Atlantic before Earhart. The lively prose of this biography capture Elder’s adventures and the can-do spirit of the time. I like that this book moves kids beyond Amelia Earhart and the resources at the end help readers delve a little deeper into early women aviators.

I hope you’ll find something in this list that catches your fancy.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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