Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Amelia Earhart Disappears: Books with Female Pilots

On this day in 1937, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan took off for the most complicated leg of their round-the-world flight. They were never seen again.

To mark this day, we look at books about Earhart and other female pilots.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming. Much of what we know about Earhart is myth and legend. Much of the myth and legend developed after her mysterious disappearance over the Pacific, but much of the myth and legend was invented by Earhart herself. In this stunning biography, Fleming strips backs the layers of the myth and legend to show us a woman who soared to unimaginable heights, even if she did so in a different way than we thought.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone. When the space program was starting, women who were accomplished pilots wanted to be astronauts. Although they proved they could perform just as well as the men eventually chosen, sexism kept them out of outer space. Even after women were allowed, for many years, it was as scientists and mission specialists, not as pilots.

Women Aviators: 26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys by Karen Bush Gibson. From Katherine Wright, who helped her brothers invent the plane, to the modern day, this book looks at many female firsts in the world of aviation.


Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. There are some who will give a black person a pilot's license. There are some who will give a woman a pilot's license, but none that will give one to a black woman. Ida can fly and it's all she wants to do, so when the Army wants female pilots fo fly at home, she passes as white so she can have a chance to serve. She loves to fly, but how long can she keep her true identity a secret?

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield, illustrated by Keith Thompson. In this alternate take on WWI, The Allies are Darwinists, with their warships and weapons made by combining DNA strands from different animals. The Central Powers distrust the Darwinists reliance on animals, instead trusting technology and machines. All Derwyn wants to do is fly-- and she'll disguise herself as a boy to do it. Little does she know she'll end up in a war on a British warship (mostly whale) with the son of the murdered Archduke... The first in a trilogy, follow it with Behemoth.

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. Leah loves to fly-- it's the only escape from her South Carolina trailer park, and she gets a great job flying for a company that flies advertising banners behind planes. But when the owner dies, his sons take over. Leah's blackmailed into staying on, but she's a pawn between Alec and Grayson.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. After crash landing in Nazi-control France, a British spy is arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. She is weak, and tells them what she knows, hoping it will buy her time, her life, or at least a quick execution instead of being shipped to Ravensbrück. But in her story, she tells a heartbreaking story of her best friend Maddie, the pilot she left in the burning plane.

West with the Night by Beryl Markham. Born in England and raised in Kenya, Markham was the first person to fly from Europe to America the first female to cross the Atlantic from East to West. This is her beautifully written memoir.

What books do you recommend about female pilots?

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