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

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Born to Fly is the gripping story of the fearless women pilots who aimed for the skies—and beyond. Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations; Marvel Cr Born to Fly is the gripping story of the fearless women pilots who aimed for the skies—and beyond. Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations; Marvel Crosson, who built a plane before she even learned how to fly; Louise Thaden, who shattered jaw-dropping altitude records; and Elinor Smith, who at age seventeen made headlines when she flew under the Brooklyn Bridge. These awe-inspiring stories culminate in a suspenseful, nail-biting rate across the country that brings to life the glory and grit of the dangerous and thrilling early days of flying, expertly told by the master of nonfiction history for young readers, National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin. Featuring illustrations by Bijou Karman.


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Born to Fly is the gripping story of the fearless women pilots who aimed for the skies—and beyond. Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations; Marvel Cr Born to Fly is the gripping story of the fearless women pilots who aimed for the skies—and beyond. Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations; Marvel Crosson, who built a plane before she even learned how to fly; Louise Thaden, who shattered jaw-dropping altitude records; and Elinor Smith, who at age seventeen made headlines when she flew under the Brooklyn Bridge. These awe-inspiring stories culminate in a suspenseful, nail-biting rate across the country that brings to life the glory and grit of the dangerous and thrilling early days of flying, expertly told by the master of nonfiction history for young readers, National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin. Featuring illustrations by Bijou Karman.

30 review for Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Steve Sheinkin is a sure bet for me. Every book I have read by him is well-researched and written in engaging, informative prose. This book shattered my image of Amelia Earhart as the only pioneer in women's aviation. Sheinkin even addresses this phenomenon in the Epilogue to this book. Most certainly the mystery surrounding her disappearance plays a role. I would also contend that her husband and publisher, George Putnam, also played a significant role in her visibility to the public. There are Steve Sheinkin is a sure bet for me. Every book I have read by him is well-researched and written in engaging, informative prose. This book shattered my image of Amelia Earhart as the only pioneer in women's aviation. Sheinkin even addresses this phenomenon in the Epilogue to this book. Most certainly the mystery surrounding her disappearance plays a role. I would also contend that her husband and publisher, George Putnam, also played a significant role in her visibility to the public. There are many wonderful photos included in this book. The illustration style is appealing, but can not compete with the window we gain through photos. Highly recommended for 5th grade and up. Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Roaring Book Press and NetGalley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    R

    The name that always come to mind when female aviators are mentioned is the famously known Amelia Earhart. However, there were many other female pilots who have made an impact in this field during the same era. Born to Fly-The First Women’s Air Race across America was a fascinating children’s nonfiction book about remarkable, but little known women pilots such as Louise McPhetridge, Ruth Elder, Marvel Crosson, Florence Lowe, Raymonde de Laroche, Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman(the first African A The name that always come to mind when female aviators are mentioned is the famously known Amelia Earhart. However, there were many other female pilots who have made an impact in this field during the same era. Born to Fly-The First Women’s Air Race across America was a fascinating children’s nonfiction book about remarkable, but little known women pilots such as Louise McPhetridge, Ruth Elder, Marvel Crosson, Florence Lowe, Raymonde de Laroche, Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman(the first African American pilot in the United States), Elinor Smith (world’s youngest pilot-male or female)and Neta Snook (who taught Amelia Earhart how to fly). The author wrote in a language suited for this age group. He also engaged his audience with inspiring stories of courage and resiliency. Most importantly, the author gave voice to these women’s outstanding accomplishments so that all generations will remember their names and place in history. This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read. Highly recommended for readers of all ages and should definitely be included in school and classroom libraries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: BORN TO FLY: THE FIRST WOMEN’S AIR RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Steve Sheinkin, Roaring Brook, September 2019, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-62672-130-2 “When a Southwest Airline’s plane’s engine exploded mid-flight this week, pilot Tammi Jo Shultz made an emergency landing. She is a former Navy pilot and one of the first women to fly an F/A-18 fighter jet. Shultz is an anomaly among airline pilots — and not just because she was able to stay calm in such extreme circumstances. As a fem Richie’s Picks: BORN TO FLY: THE FIRST WOMEN’S AIR RACE ACROSS AMERICA by Steve Sheinkin, Roaring Brook, September 2019, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-62672-130-2 “When a Southwest Airline’s plane’s engine exploded mid-flight this week, pilot Tammi Jo Shultz made an emergency landing. She is a former Navy pilot and one of the first women to fly an F/A-18 fighter jet. Shultz is an anomaly among airline pilots — and not just because she was able to stay calm in such extreme circumstances. As a female pilot, Shultz is part of a small group. Just 6.3% of commercial pilots and 6% of non-commercial pilots in the United States are women.” — MarketWatch, “Female Pilots are a rarity at commercial airlines in the U.S.” (4/22/18) “There were about nine thousand licensed pilots in the United States in 1928. Fewer than one hundred of them were women. Of these, twenty of the best entered the Women’s Air Derby” “There you stood on the edge of your feather Expecting to fly — Neil Young (1967) Do you have any idea who the first woman to be featured on a Wheaties box was? Hint: Read this book. Steve Sheinkin has done it again! BORN TO FLY is a thrilling true story of pioneering women flyers in the 1920s. Of these brave and crazy women, Amelia Earhart is the name most readers will already recognize. The story opens with glimpses of the childhoods of a half-dozen of these women, moving back and forth between early flying experiences and the record-breaking flights that led them to the starting line at Clover Field in Santa Monica, CA. The goal of these twenty elite female pilots in August, 1929 was to follow a nine-day route, including dozens of takeoffs and landings, to the finish line in Cleveland, OH. “In their own way...these pilots were like flappers. They were rebels, having fun on their own terms. They were weaving through obstacles and chasing their dreams.” Over those nine days, there were destroyed planes, maps blown out of the hands of pilots, bad storms, wrong turns and, occasionally, cows in the way. Yet “Fifteen of the twenty pilots who’d started the Women’s Air Derby made it to the finish line. This was the highest percentage of finishers in any cross-country air race to date.” The author explains how air racing in the 1920s was a major spectator sport in the U.S. These cross-country races were akin to today’s Super Bowls. “Aviation was new and incredibly dangerous, so when daring pilots set out to race unreliable planes over mountains and across deserts, it made for thrilling drama. These multi-day races featured fierce rivalries back-and-forth battles for the lead, violent storms, and mechanical failures in the air. There were always crashes in these races. In almost every race, at least one pilot was killed. The first Women’s Air Derby would be no exception.” Early on, readers need to pay attention in order to keep the pilots and their respective exploits straight. But I found that it was well worth the effort because the book’s strength is its unrelenting focus on the flying and the race rather than on tangential details of the pilots’ biographies. I’ve read that this week’s Election Day results in Virginia may well lead to the long-stalled ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. BORN TO FLY is a notable women’s history book about gutsy women who opened up possibilities for others of their gender to challenge the status quo. It will fit nicely in a display with this quartet of related titles I also recommend: AMELIA AND ELEANOR GO FOR A RIDE by Pam Munoz Ryan and Brian Selznick (1999) TALKIN’ ABOUT BESSIE: THE STORY OF AVIATOR ELIZABETH COLEMAN by Nikki Grimes and Earl B. Lewis (2002) THE WRIGHT SISTER: KATHERINE WRIGHT AND HER FAMOUS BROTHERS by Richard Maurer (2003) AMELIA LOST: THE LIFE AND DISAPPEARANCE OF AMELIA EARHART by Candace Fleming (2011) Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ [email protected]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    I will never say no to a Steve Sheinkin book and this one was no exception. Born to Fly tells the story of the first women pilots and the first Female Air Derby. It is a fascinating story with a lot of names I was not familiar with. Of course everyone knows who Amelia Earhart was, but what was interesting is that she was not the best pilot only the most famous and she knew it. At the time there were other famous female pilots like Pancho Barnes, Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden and many others who I will never say no to a Steve Sheinkin book and this one was no exception. Born to Fly tells the story of the first women pilots and the first Female Air Derby. It is a fascinating story with a lot of names I was not familiar with. Of course everyone knows who Amelia Earhart was, but what was interesting is that she was not the best pilot only the most famous and she knew it. At the time there were other famous female pilots like Pancho Barnes, Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden and many others who flew the derby. They were beset by sabotage and problems that were never really investigated. The pilots believe that the sabotage actually led to the tragic death of one of their members. I am now fascinated by Louise Thaden, the winner of the derby, and several of the others. Sheinkin does a fantastic job showing how they all got their start in flying, generally from jumping off a roof! Marvel and her brother even built their own plane. He also shows the prejudice against women flyers and how they each had to fight for their place in the skies. The Derby itself was so very interesting. They flew from California to Ohio with multiple stops along the way. Each night was spent eating rubber chicken at a banquet (the pilots would have rather worked on their planes or slept). There were mishaps, crashes, breakdowns and so much more along the way. Flying was definitely different in 1929.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sunday

    Oh, my!!! Get this in the hands of our grades 6-12 students. Louise Thaden. Marvel Crosson. Bobbi Trout. Ruth Nichols. Pancho Barnes. Many others. And Amelia Earhart. Most of us know Earhart, but she was one of a tribe of women who, beginning in the 1920s, were crazy about flying and setting records. Twenty of these women had the honor of flying in the 1929 Women's Air Derby, an eight day, cross country trip from CA to OH. Sheinkin introduces us to several of these women with nail bit Oh, my!!! Get this in the hands of our grades 6-12 students. Louise Thaden. Marvel Crosson. Bobbi Trout. Ruth Nichols. Pancho Barnes. Many others. And Amelia Earhart. Most of us know Earhart, but she was one of a tribe of women who, beginning in the 1920s, were crazy about flying and setting records. Twenty of these women had the honor of flying in the 1929 Women's Air Derby, an eight day, cross country trip from CA to OH. Sheinkin introduces us to several of these women with nail biting stories of their childhood and young adulthood stunts. Anyone for jumping off a roof with an umbrella? Or onto a horse trotting by? Or into a haystack? No. Let's grease some boards, set them up against a building and sled down them! Sheinkin builds up to the derby and then the narrative from there is just gripping. (I read this book in a day. Couldn't put it down.) One pilot's plane broke down twice on the way to the derby--both times she hiked and hitched a ride into a town, found a mechanic or ordered a part and went back and fixed her plane. Unbelievable--and that's how the stories are for eight days. One pilot smelled smoke - landed her plan - discovered her bag of personals was on fire (someone may have thrown a cigarette butt down into on accident?) - dragged the bag out of her plane, put it out, got back in the plane and kept going. Then there’s the larger story. Suspected sabotage. Men calling for the race to be cancelled because women can’t and shouldn’t do this. Journalists asking about their clothes (which they wouldn’t ask a male pilot). Lack of control of crowds at the airfields. Wearing the pilots out with banquets at each night’s stop (and a lot of chicken). And just how young aviation was at this point. These women flew with road maps in their laps as a way to guide them to their next stop! And what happened if the map flew out of the airplane???? THESE WOMEN WERE FREAKING AMAZING!!!! And Sheinkin’s narrative is superb. His "source notes" and "acknowledgments" and extensive bibliography assures the reader of his authority on the topic. There are photographs of the women as well as nicely-placed illustrations by Bijou Karman—just enough of both to add interest. Towards the end, Sheinkin addresses the world’s fascination with Amelia Earhart. Why do we know about her and not Louise Thaden who was just as remarkable (and won the derby)? He attributes this to Earhart’s mysterious disappearance. Because of her fame (she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane and then to fly across the Atlantic solo) she was also able to advocate (more loudly than others?) for the role of women in the aviation field. I’d book talk this in grades 6-12. I shouldn't pin this book onto particular readers, but I do think any student interested in NASA or aviation or a variety of other STEM topics will find this read fascinating. I’d read aloud the first three pages and then leave it to be snatched up by a reader.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    It's hard to go wrong in choosing to read a book by Steve Sheinkin, and this one, focused on the Women's Air Derby of 1929, is no exception to that rule. In it, Sheinkin shares the stories of the women who participated in that race, the first of its kind featuring female pilots. Not only does he provide some background information about flight, planes, and early women flyers, but he quickly draws readers into this story, which is filled with all sorts of drama, intrigue, possible sabotage, and d It's hard to go wrong in choosing to read a book by Steve Sheinkin, and this one, focused on the Women's Air Derby of 1929, is no exception to that rule. In it, Sheinkin shares the stories of the women who participated in that race, the first of its kind featuring female pilots. Not only does he provide some background information about flight, planes, and early women flyers, but he quickly draws readers into this story, which is filled with all sorts of drama, intrigue, possible sabotage, and danger. During those days, it must have stung for some of the more experienced pilots to be overlooked in favor of the more-famous aviator, Amelia Earhart, but all of them seemed determined to remove the barriers that prevented women from being taken seriously as pilots, paving the way for the future generation to follow their own dreams of taking to the skies. Readers will enjoy learning about how some of these women were daredevils as youngsters, drawn to flight by jumping off roofs or as passengers in planes. Some, like Marvel Crosson and her brother Joe, saved every penny they earned to buy their first plane. The book is filled with the escapades of Pancho Barnes, Louise Thaden, Bobbi Trout, and others, twenty in all, and mostly focuses on that race from California to Cleveland. Relying on interviews and extensive research, Sheinkin allows readers to hear those air pioneers' voices and feel as though they, too, are high in the sky, dealing with heat, bad weather, confusing directions, engine trouble, and exhaustion. The popularity of the race is described as fans greeted the women at every stopping point. I was surprised that they were expected to attend banquets and give speeches along the way when I'm sure they would much rather have gone to bed or planned their routes for the next day. Although the author never names names, there are plenty of hints that some of the problems the pilots encountered were due to tampering of their equipment and that carbon monoxide poisoning might have caused the death of one woman. I was riveted from the very first page and had to shake my head at some of the sexist attitudes and comments the women faced. Accompanied by several black and white archival photographs and sketches, the book will surely prompt readers to seek out additional reading about these women who were clearly born to fly. As someone who isn't particularly fond of RIDING in a plane, I finished the book impressed with those who had the nerves and skills to FLY one.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    The second person POV worked well to make the story both unique and action-packed. Telling the story of several of the most prolific female aviators and the derby race that killed one, injured or destroyed planes, and ultimately was a successful proving ground that women should and can be worthy of flight when all the cards were stacked against them (even multiple accounts of tampering with their planes!) Sheinkin does it again to find a noteworthy story and make it appealing for everyone to rea The second person POV worked well to make the story both unique and action-packed. Telling the story of several of the most prolific female aviators and the derby race that killed one, injured or destroyed planes, and ultimately was a successful proving ground that women should and can be worthy of flight when all the cards were stacked against them (even multiple accounts of tampering with their planes!) Sheinkin does it again to find a noteworthy story and make it appealing for everyone to read by finding details that promote thoughtful conversation to recognize the gains made by subgroups through perseverance, education, rebelliousness, and more. Told as a cohesive collective biography, the book flows nicely with the central element being the derby itself building from where each woman started from or got their itch to fly. Never sugar-coating their obstacles from family, society, and prohibitive technology, Sheinkin lived their lives in a way to tell their stories fairly authentically, finding comments from reporters capturing the women after flight saying that they hadn't combed their hair or powdered their noses, to show the bias they regularly experienced (including commentary that when a man's life is lost in flight, it's tragic but not unexpected but when a woman's life is lost, it's a travesty of epic proportions and no woman should ever pilot a plane). I can't wait to see the final copy with the illustrations of these women's prowess in the cockpit.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus In 1929, pretty much anything that could be made a contest became a contest, and the bigger, better, and more dangerous, the better. Flying was still fairly new, and air shows attracted big crowds. There weren't a lot of pilots, and there were fewer pilots who were women, since women were deemed weaker and less mentally able to handle the rigors of flight. This, of course, was ridiculous, and the women who entered the first Air Derby were all different exampl E ARC from Edelweiss Plus In 1929, pretty much anything that could be made a contest became a contest, and the bigger, better, and more dangerous, the better. Flying was still fairly new, and air shows attracted big crowds. There weren't a lot of pilots, and there were fewer pilots who were women, since women were deemed weaker and less mentally able to handle the rigors of flight. This, of course, was ridiculous, and the women who entered the first Air Derby were all different examples of this. The most familiar name to modern tweens was Amelia Earhart, but others, like Pancho Barnes, and Elinor Smith may ring bells as well. Starting with the childhoods of these women, Sheinkin shows us how they all defied current conventions to embrace air travel, from jumping off roofs as children to fearlessly taking lessons and even, in the case of Marvel Crosson, building their own planes! Once we understand all of the women involved (and some others, like Bessie Coleman, who didn't fly in it but contributed to women's aviation), we get to experience the race! Starting in California, weaving through Texas, and ending up in Cleveland, Ohio, the course was not easy to navigate, and perils were rife. The women's planes were sabotaged in many ways that weren't fully investigated and were never proven, even though they most likely lead to the death of one of the flyers. There were also accidents, sudden landings, and midair mishaps. The weather was hot, comforts were few, and the evenings of "rest" were filled with banquets and too many chicken dinners, but the women were determined and fearless. The rave hinged on not only the flying skill of the pilots, but the eccentricities of their planes, as well as sheer dumb luck. Several women had to stop out because of plane issues, and one woman flew past Columbus (the next to the last stop) and went straight to Cleveland, thereby disqualifying herself. In the end, Louise Thaden won. With the Great Depression starting just a few months after the Derby, aviation took a lot of blows, but many of the women continued to be involved in aviation and certainly set the stage for women to be active in the field. Strengths: This will put some new names before many readers; I especially was intrigued by Pancho Barnes and Marvel Crosson and might have to see if there are any books about them! The details of the race are very exciting, and there is a good mix of what is going on and what the women felt abou tit. The research is remarkable-- luckily, there are memoirs by the flyers and lots of newspaper articles detailing every move! This reminded me a lot of Speno's The Great American Foot Race:Ballyhoo for the Bunion Derby! which is set during this era. Great nonfiction choice for readers who want an exciting tale! Weaknesses: There are some photographs, but there are also a lot of illustrations. I find that my students prefer photos if any exist. I know it is probably more expensive to include them, but the drawings never seem to be a draw for my readers. This was also a bit confusing at the beginning, since there were so many people who needed to be introduced. What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and can see this getting a lot of use.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate Waggoner

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, for an advance copy of Steve Sheinkin's Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America. This book will be released on September 24, 2019. All opinions are my own. This is a middle grade nonfiction book about the female pilots who participated in the 1929 Air Derby which was the first women's air race across the United States. The book talks about each woman's journey to becoming a pilot, her trip across the Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, for an advance copy of Steve Sheinkin's Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America. This book will be released on September 24, 2019. All opinions are my own. This is a middle grade nonfiction book about the female pilots who participated in the 1929 Air Derby which was the first women's air race across the United States. The book talks about each woman's journey to becoming a pilot, her trip across the country during the derby, and what she did after the derby. I love this book so much. The stories of these women, the adversity they faced, and their accomplishments is astounding and inspirational. We have all most likely heard of Amelia Earhart and she is discussed in the book, but what I really enjoyed was learning about all the other women who made huge contributions to the aviation world and women's rights. I was inspired by the stories of Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden, Blanche Noyes, and the other female pilots. I had never heard of the 1929 Air Derby before. I honestly had no idea that cross country plane races were a thing, for men or women. Through the stories of these amazing women, it is shown that you can do anything you put your mind to and that you can't let the doubts, criticisms, and fears of others stop you from doing what you're capable of and/or dream of doing. I had always viewed Amelia Earhart as this amazing pilot (and don't get me wrong she was), but what I didn't know was that there were other female pilot equally good, if not better than her. I think it is so important that their story also be told. This was an engaging read and I hope to get a copy to include in my classroom library.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carin

    Can we all agree, Steve Sheinkin is just the best when it comes to kids' nonfiction? I think it's just not even a contest. But this book sure was! It's about the first women's air race! Amelia Earhart may be the only women from the early days of flight who we can name today but she was by no means the first, the fastest, or the best. Yes, she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Did you know on that first flight, she was a passenger, not a pilot? She was recruited to do it, Can we all agree, Steve Sheinkin is just the best when it comes to kids' nonfiction? I think it's just not even a contest. But this book sure was! It's about the first women's air race! Amelia Earhart may be the only women from the early days of flight who we can name today but she was by no means the first, the fastest, or the best. Yes, she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Did you know on that first flight, she was a passenger, not a pilot? She was recruited to do it, and while the pilot was paid $20,000 and the mechanic was paid $5000, she was paid zero. (She did later become the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic also. Those two records are often confused/conflated.) But this book is about so much more! It's about Marvel Crosson (her real name, not a nickname!) and Louise Thaden and Elinor Smith and a dozen more women pilots of the 1910s and 1920s. This race took place in 1929, in a time when it took 4 days to fly halfway across the country. It started in California and ended in Ohio and the race lasted 9 days. These women were badasses. At a time when flight was still experimental and incredibly dangerous, they faced sexism, some outright laws against them, and they did it all better than the men (not that anyone seemed to notice that! But the number of deaths and injuries was way, way below what it was in men's air races.) Riveting, fascinating, and just plain fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Arc courtesy of Macmillan at ALA Annual 2019. A delightful and quick middle grade read about the 20 female pilots who embarked on a 9 day air race in 1929. Like all Sheinkin’s works, this is a suspenseful narrative nonfiction work that is extremely engrossing, with just enough information provided to spark further research on the topic. With such a large cast of characters I find myself wanting to learn even more about these brave pilots. Particularly Pancho Barnes-only 1 sentence included about Arc courtesy of Macmillan at ALA Annual 2019. A delightful and quick middle grade read about the 20 female pilots who embarked on a 9 day air race in 1929. Like all Sheinkin’s works, this is a suspenseful narrative nonfiction work that is extremely engrossing, with just enough information provided to spark further research on the topic. With such a large cast of characters I find myself wanting to learn even more about these brave pilots. Particularly Pancho Barnes-only 1 sentence included about her boarding school exploits which deserve their own film due to her flair for the dramatic. That’s a great example of Sheinkin’s soaring use of detail that creates a compelling atmosphere for the reader. The author’s coverage of each flyer’s childhood and passion for flying had me heavily invested in their emotional and physical trajectories as the race kept going despite setbacks, sabotage and constant sexism. I was also very intrigued by Sheinkin’s discussion of the politics of who is remembered today and the great mystery of who was sabotaging the flyers, potentially even resulting in a murder.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    I learned so much, as I always do with a book from Steve Sheinkin but the best part about his books is that you don't realize how much you are learning, you just want to know more. Most of us are familiar with Amelia Earhart but few people know about the stunning feats of her peers like Marvel Crossen, Pancho Barnes or Louise Thaden. They all came from different backgrounds, different parts of the country but shared a common dream - to fly. The other focus of the book is the first Women's Air De I learned so much, as I always do with a book from Steve Sheinkin but the best part about his books is that you don't realize how much you are learning, you just want to know more. Most of us are familiar with Amelia Earhart but few people know about the stunning feats of her peers like Marvel Crossen, Pancho Barnes or Louise Thaden. They all came from different backgrounds, different parts of the country but shared a common dream - to fly. The other focus of the book is the first Women's Air Derby which was a cross-country air race lasting nine days and covering over 2, 750 miles. It was grueling, it was dangerous and it was the first time women competed in this relatively new industry. Not only did they have to prove that they were brave, talented and very skilled fliers but they had to prove it to a society that believed their women should be at home and not taking jobs and honors away from men. The mystery surrounding the race and some of the "accidents" that happened only sweetened the pot and I would love to see another book just on that. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This nonfiction book collects stories about the lives of several trailblazing female pilots. When you mention female pilots, the first name that comes to mind is always (at least for me) Amelia Earhart. She’s here, of course, but this book introduces readers to new names in the field, like Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden, Elinor Smith, and Ruth Nichols, just to name a few. Their stories are all different, but they are woven together in this story to tell the tale of what it was like to take risks This nonfiction book collects stories about the lives of several trailblazing female pilots. When you mention female pilots, the first name that comes to mind is always (at least for me) Amelia Earhart. She’s here, of course, but this book introduces readers to new names in the field, like Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden, Elinor Smith, and Ruth Nichols, just to name a few. Their stories are all different, but they are woven together in this story to tell the tale of what it was like to take risks in such a dangerous field, when so few had before. I loved learning about new people in this field. The best part for me was the pictures and drawings that were included throughout the text. Seeing the pilots with their planes really shows the passion they had for what they were doing. I would definitely recommend this for middle grade readers looking to learn a little bit more about female pilots! I was given an advanced reader's copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Fell into this while in between two other titles and delighted by all the accounts of what women did to pursue their passion for flying. Building a plane from scratch (!), saving up for lessons, working in the aviation field (!) and of course, launching oneself off the roof. The arc I read had some photos which helped show how planes at the outset were really nothing more than wooden boxes, and some photos or art was listed TK. The only drawback I found was the quick pace of writing a Fell into this while in between two other titles and delighted by all the accounts of what women did to pursue their passion for flying. Building a plane from scratch (!), saving up for lessons, working in the aviation field (!) and of course, launching oneself off the roof. The arc I read had some photos which helped show how planes at the outset were really nothing more than wooden boxes, and some photos or art was listed TK. The only drawback I found was the quick pace of writing and rapid switching back and forth from one woman to the next made it difficult to keep track of who was who. Nevertheless, each woman featured had her own personality and the writing does show the determination and focus of brave woman aviators. Will look for finished version in September and re-read. Marvel Crosson Louise McPhetridge Thaden Ruth Elder (Evelyn) Bobbi Trout Florence Lowe (Pancho Barnes) Elinor Smith Bessie Coleman Amelia Earhart Neta Snook Raymonde de Laroche Harriet Quimby Matilde Moisant Blanche Stewart Scott

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    One again, Steve Sheinkin's nonfiction storytelling prowess reigns supreme! Yes, we know about Amelia Earhart but I'm guessing most of you (and me) don't know much about other badass aviatrixes such as Ruth Elder, Louise McPhetridge, Marvel Crosson, Bobbi Trout, even big personality Pancho Barnes, all women who were (as Sheinkin's title claims) born to fly. I'd never heard of the Women's Air Derby. But, boy oh boy, did I love following these savvy competitors -- their trials and triumphs, danger One again, Steve Sheinkin's nonfiction storytelling prowess reigns supreme! Yes, we know about Amelia Earhart but I'm guessing most of you (and me) don't know much about other badass aviatrixes such as Ruth Elder, Louise McPhetridge, Marvel Crosson, Bobbi Trout, even big personality Pancho Barnes, all women who were (as Sheinkin's title claims) born to fly. I'd never heard of the Women's Air Derby. But, boy oh boy, did I love following these savvy competitors -- their trials and triumphs, dangers and heartaches -- as they sought over and over and over again to prove their skill, competence, and need to fly. I enjoyed how Sheinkin introduces readers to each "character" before the derby even began so, by the time the air race started, we know and care about each flyer, holding our breath as they overcome unspeakable challenges (and a lot of chicken dinners!). Dang it, Sheinkin is good. Now I want to re-read this book and study his craft ... he's such a master at all levels, from sentence structure to book structure. His prose is simply vibrant!

  16. 4 out of 5

    James Taber

    I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley. This is a vitally important history for anyone interested in aviation or women's history. The stories in these pages are guaranteed to thrill, delight, and move readers of any age, but they will be especially valuable to middle grade and young adult readers. All the history and life stories build up to the account of the legendary 1929 Women's Air Derby; it really did feel like I was there to live it. The fact that only Amel I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley. This is a vitally important history for anyone interested in aviation or women's history. The stories in these pages are guaranteed to thrill, delight, and move readers of any age, but they will be especially valuable to middle grade and young adult readers. All the history and life stories build up to the account of the legendary 1929 Women's Air Derby; it really did feel like I was there to live it. The fact that only Amelia Earhart is a household name is a failure that can be rectified by reading and sharing this book widely—everyone deserves to know the names Louise Thaden, Pancho Barnes, Ruth Nichols, Gladys O'Donnell, and Blanche Noyes, among so very many other pioneers in the field of aviation. My copy unfortunately did not contain illustrations. I'm looking forward to picking up the finished product in order to enjoy them alongside the text.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Staller

    I am a Steven Sheinkin stan so my opinions on his books might be biased, but I really enjoyed Born to Fly. Like many of his books, it focused on a slice of history with which I was unfamiliar, the first women's US air race. I learned a lot about the early history of flying and the women who worked hard to be treated equally and gain respect for excelling at a career they loved. It didn't shy away from talking about the dangers and difficulties these women faced (based on the crash rates I can't beli I am a Steven Sheinkin stan so my opinions on his books might be biased, but I really enjoyed Born to Fly. Like many of his books, it focused on a slice of history with which I was unfamiliar, the first women's US air race. I learned a lot about the early history of flying and the women who worked hard to be treated equally and gain respect for excelling at a career they loved. It didn't shy away from talking about the dangers and difficulties these women faced (based on the crash rates I can't believe that anyone of any gender went near these death machines) and highlighted a lot of badass women whose accomplishments have been forgotten or overshadowed by the tragedy and spectacle of Amelia Earhart. Non-fiction is always a tough recommendation in my library, but I think this book would appeal to adventure readers because it's fast-paced and high stakes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    When I first discovered an author who focused on high interest YA non fiction books, I thought I died and gone to heaven. Steve Sheinkin continues to make me happy with every book he writes. I put this one right up there with Bomb and Most Dangerous on the interesting factor, but a tad bit easier to read (it reads as an upper middle grade). Born to Fly is about the first women pilots and a race they had across America. Of course, Amelia Earhart is there, but you also learn about Louise Thaden, G When I first discovered an author who focused on high interest YA non fiction books, I thought I died and gone to heaven. Steve Sheinkin continues to make me happy with every book he writes. I put this one right up there with Bomb and Most Dangerous on the interesting factor, but a tad bit easier to read (it reads as an upper middle grade). Born to Fly is about the first women pilots and a race they had across America. Of course, Amelia Earhart is there, but you also learn about Louise Thaden, Gladys O'Donnell, Poncho Barnes, Marvel Crosson and many more. You learn about the prejudices that these women faced and the dangers of being a pilot in the early 1900s. There is nothing bad that I can say about this book. Teacher Rating- Middle School and up!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    Again Steve Sheinkin takes a topic I didn’t think I was interested in and convinces me in less than five minutes to sit and read the whole book in one sitting. Women’s rights...okay; death defying acts of bravery and air stunts...sure; supporting each other during a female only 9-day cross country air race amidst rumors of sabotage and ugly press...wow. These women were amazing people. Physically, emotionally, and mentally strong with a will to compete like nothing else. Sheinkin narrates their Again Steve Sheinkin takes a topic I didn’t think I was interested in and convinces me in less than five minutes to sit and read the whole book in one sitting. Women’s rights...okay; death defying acts of bravery and air stunts...sure; supporting each other during a female only 9-day cross country air race amidst rumors of sabotage and ugly press...wow. These women were amazing people. Physically, emotionally, and mentally strong with a will to compete like nothing else. Sheinkin narrates their story so vibrantly I was practically gasping at the end. I was very happy he included information as to what each “character” went on to pursue after the race because, as a reader, I became invested in every one of them.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    5 stars for Steve Sheinkin, who does not disappoint here. (Except for one line in which he tweaks one of my usage pain points. The second time he refers to the officiant at Marvel Crosson's funeral, he should not have referred to him as just "the reverend." Reverend is an adjective, not a title, and should never be used on its own.) Only one or two stars, however, for whoever it was in the editorial or design staff at Roaring Brook Press who made the decision to include the line drawi 5 stars for Steve Sheinkin, who does not disappoint here. (Except for one line in which he tweaks one of my usage pain points. The second time he refers to the officiant at Marvel Crosson's funeral, he should not have referred to him as just "the reverend." Reverend is an adjective, not a title, and should never be used on its own.) Only one or two stars, however, for whoever it was in the editorial or design staff at Roaring Brook Press who made the decision to include the line drawings as well as photographs. I found the quality of these very disappointing, and I believe that they detract from the overall impression the book makes, particularly for the target audience of middle to high school age readers, who I think will find the drawings juvenile.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I read an advance copy of this book for the upcoming Harbor Springs Festival of the Book 2019. From jumping from a shed holding a giant umbrella, to sledding face first down an icy road, the women who became the first aviators shared an adventurous spirit and fascination with tools, the mechanics of machinery, speed, and flight. Sheinkin introduces us to daring young women – Louise McPhetridge, Marvel Crosson, Helen Thaden, Amelia Earhart and others. Their collaborative perseverance i I read an advance copy of this book for the upcoming Harbor Springs Festival of the Book 2019. From jumping from a shed holding a giant umbrella, to sledding face first down an icy road, the women who became the first aviators shared an adventurous spirit and fascination with tools, the mechanics of machinery, speed, and flight. Sheinkin introduces us to daring young women – Louise McPhetridge, Marvel Crosson, Helen Thaden, Amelia Earhart and others. Their collaborative perseverance in the wake of possible sabotage and a call to cancel the race in progress sets the stage for a suspenseful adventure where women prove they can be judged on individual merit. This is engaging nonfiction writing at its best!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Thank you so much to Roaring Brook Press for the eARC of this book! I love the way Steve Sheinkin makes history accessible and captivating for readers young and old. Born to Fly focuses on the Women’s Air Derby in 1929 - a race from California to Ohio that help to prove that women were just as capable aviators as their male counterparts. They recovered from crashes, (probably) sabotage, and illness and proved to the world that a woman’s place is in the sky. While many of us are familiar with Ame Thank you so much to Roaring Brook Press for the eARC of this book! I love the way Steve Sheinkin makes history accessible and captivating for readers young and old. Born to Fly focuses on the Women’s Air Derby in 1929 - a race from California to Ohio that help to prove that women were just as capable aviators as their male counterparts. They recovered from crashes, (probably) sabotage, and illness and proved to the world that a woman’s place is in the sky. While many of us are familiar with Amelia Earhart, there were many other pioneering women whose names are less well known, but whose accomplishments are no less laudable. I loved reading their stories, and can’t wait to share this book with my own kids.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This basically covers the same information as Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History but in a more accessible form. It is categorized as a Childrens book, but I didn't feel as though it was talking down to the readers or below my (adult) level of comprehension. It also includes more information on flyers who weren't in Fly Girls or were only touched on in passing: Pancho Barnes, Marvel Crosson, Elinor Smith, Bobbi Trout...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    I always enjoy Sheinkin's books and this is no exception. He focuses this time on the first Women's Air Derby in 1929 and manages to capture the danger, adventurous spirit, and camaraderie among the pilots. While it's not a surprise that these women faced opposition after trying to justify their place as pilots, I was not aware of the depth of sabotage they faced, both verbal and through intentional damage to their planes which caused serious injury. Much like women throughout time who have had I always enjoy Sheinkin's books and this is no exception. He focuses this time on the first Women's Air Derby in 1929 and manages to capture the danger, adventurous spirit, and camaraderie among the pilots. While it's not a surprise that these women faced opposition after trying to justify their place as pilots, I was not aware of the depth of sabotage they faced, both verbal and through intentional damage to their planes which caused serious injury. Much like women throughout time who have had to deal with harassment, they down-played the sabotage at the time in the hopes that they could keep the spotlight on their talent and achievements instead.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lizanne Johnson

    Steve Sheinkin introduces the reader to a group of women pilots who make history. Of course Amelia Earhart is included, but the best part is meeting all the other pilots of all ages and from many different walks of life. These women broke records and accepted challenges including a cross country air race. The text reads like a great fiction book with lots of suspense. This is a great book to share with girls to show that women can do anything. I will definitely be adding this title to my middle Steve Sheinkin introduces the reader to a group of women pilots who make history. Of course Amelia Earhart is included, but the best part is meeting all the other pilots of all ages and from many different walks of life. These women broke records and accepted challenges including a cross country air race. The text reads like a great fiction book with lots of suspense. This is a great book to share with girls to show that women can do anything. I will definitely be adding this title to my middle school library's collection. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Very interesting book about female pilots and all the difficulties they endured. Upon reading, you’ll get a small snippet into their lives from childhood up, which helps others to see they were children like most others but had a certain “spark” that led each of them to pursue learning to fly. Nevertheless this isn’t an easy read; by that I mean any student reading this should have a teacher, parent, or librarian to guide them into a deeper understanding. I received an arc from NetGalley in Very interesting book about female pilots and all the difficulties they endured. Upon reading, you’ll get a small snippet into their lives from childhood up, which helps others to see they were children like most others but had a certain “spark” that led each of them to pursue learning to fly. Nevertheless this isn’t an easy read; by that I mean any student reading this should have a teacher, parent, or librarian to guide them into a deeper understanding. I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for my volunteer review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    This book was very interesting. It held my attention the whole time, and I was waiting to see what happened. I very much enjoyed this book. When it came to women's aviation, the only one I had ever heard of was Amelia Earhart. I am excited to share this book with my daughter, who is 12. It amazes me every time when I read a book that deals with historical facts and how lucky that we have it with our rights and being able to do anything we want to do, career wise.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

    Fascinating as always! I loved learning the backstories of many of the women who flew in the 1929 Women's Air Derby. It is the story of the women's fight to be considered relevant in the world of aviation. It is a story about these women's passion and dedication for flying. This true story is written like a novel and pulled me right in. It is a great example to young readers about the power of women, friendship, and having the grit to follow your dreams.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    Important stories of high-flying, groundbreaking women, several of whom have been the subjects of outstanding prior books, others whose life stories have rarely been explored in literature for young readers. Author Sheinkin's writing is, as always, as readable and engaging as a well-written novel, but provides ample evidence within the text and in back matter that his research is reliable and deep.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    "They started by jumping off roofs. They wound up kicking down doors--for themselves, and everyone else." The book ends with this powerful line and tells the incredible story of the brave female pilots who participated in the 1929 Air Derby, the first derby to allow female pilots to participate. This is a great read for any middle grade student and a fantastic look at gender expectations of our past and how they still impact our present.

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