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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 Cros 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 Cros 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

    Una Tiers

    I enjoyed this book, although it is the story of women written by a man. One part that sticks to my thoughts is the discrimination. The other is about a woman who had engine trouble and landed in a field. She hitchhiked into town and returned with a mechanic. I recommend this book. I listened to it on audio.

  3. 4 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 female pilot, S 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

    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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Non-fiction about the first women’s air derby and it brought tears to my eyes in places. I am so proud of these women for overcoming the challenges they had to overcome to prove that women belonged in the air just the same as men. This is non-fiction, but it reads as easily as fiction. The author moves the plot along and makes it exciting. I loved learning about all the different women flyers, their personalities, their backgrounds, and what drew them to aviation. I’ll be reading more by this au Non-fiction about the first women’s air derby and it brought tears to my eyes in places. I am so proud of these women for overcoming the challenges they had to overcome to prove that women belonged in the air just the same as men. This is non-fiction, but it reads as easily as fiction. The author moves the plot along and makes it exciting. I loved learning about all the different women flyers, their personalities, their backgrounds, and what drew them to aviation. I’ll be reading more by this author for sure. Highly recommend.

  6. 5 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.

  7. 5 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 biting stories 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 4 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    As usual for Sheinkin, this book feels like a thriller! Who will win the race? Will anyone get hurt or die? More importantly to the participants, would enough finish to help prove that women have as much right as men to fly? In many ways, this feels like one of Sheinkin’s most personal books: he includes a photo of his daughter, Anna, dressed up as Amelia Earhart for Halloween as part of his inspiration for the book, although in his acknowledgements he listed his actual motivation being a podcas As usual for Sheinkin, this book feels like a thriller! Who will win the race? Will anyone get hurt or die? More importantly to the participants, would enough finish to help prove that women have as much right as men to fly? In many ways, this feels like one of Sheinkin’s most personal books: he includes a photo of his daughter, Anna, dressed up as Amelia Earhart for Halloween as part of his inspiration for the book, although in his acknowledgements he listed his actual motivation being a podcast he was in that mentioned the race as well as a film of the race that he heard a few weeks later. I love that Sheinkin took time to answer the implicit question of “so what?” by noting the astronauts who carried mementos with them into space from that race. Wow!!! Proof of how inspiring this was to women in the field! I am disappointed this didn’t win any awards, although Sheinkin won the Margaret A. Edwards Award fir 2020 for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Well deserved since virtually all his nonfiction has won awards. Highly recommended for Women’s history month, aviation history or just plain exciting books!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kara of BookishBytes

    Steve Sheinkin found another great story from history that I didn't know about and wrote a strong book about it. Amelia Earhart and other very early female pilots in the US agree to an air race across the country. I was fascinated by the way these women were talked about in the primary sources Sheinkin quoted and in the descriptions he gave of how the women were expected to dress, to talk, to not work on their own machines (even though pilots had to be their own mechanics), to not ask questions ( Steve Sheinkin found another great story from history that I didn't know about and wrote a strong book about it. Amelia Earhart and other very early female pilots in the US agree to an air race across the country. I was fascinated by the way these women were talked about in the primary sources Sheinkin quoted and in the descriptions he gave of how the women were expected to dress, to talk, to not work on their own machines (even though pilots had to be their own mechanics), to not ask questions (even though the questions were directly related to their own safety in the race), etc. Infuriating and fascinating. A very readable book for tweens and young teens and anyone who enjoys aviation stories.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    Why is Amelia Earhart probably the only female pilot you can name? This wonderful book profiles a host of early female pilots who participated in the first women's air race. It picks up speed about half way through when the actual race starts and doesn't let go until the end. Hand this to readers of fast-paced narrative nonfiction, particularly those interested in the lives of strong women. Why is Amelia Earhart probably the only female pilot you can name? This wonderful book profiles a host of early female pilots who participated in the first women's air race. It picks up speed about half way through when the actual race starts and doesn't let go until the end. Hand this to readers of fast-paced narrative nonfiction, particularly those interested in the lives of strong women.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    This might be my favorite Steve Sheinkin book. I LOVED it! The way he writes about the first women's air derby across America is fascinating, and he brings all of these amazing women to life. The book is funny, sweet, sad and inspiring. This might be my favorite Steve Sheinkin book. I LOVED it! The way he writes about the first women's air derby across America is fascinating, and he brings all of these amazing women to life. The book is funny, sweet, sad and inspiring.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chelsey

    Every time I start a Sheinkin book I think, “I’m not interested in this subject. Maybe I should skip this one.” And then I remember that Steve’s never done me wrong, and the next thing I know it’s three hours later and I’ve read the book in one sitting. This book is no exception.

  15. 4 out of 5

    beliz kan

    I expected this book to be exciting and it was, at some points, but it was also boring and took long to get to the interesting parts.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess Wagner

    There is nothing I didn't like about this book. There is nothing I didn't like about this book.

  17. 5 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 examples of this. 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.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Sorrell

    Sheinkin has done it again. His story like narration brings to life historical events readers will devour. We’ve all heard of Amelia Earhart and maybe Bessie Coleman. Here readers will get to know some incredibly brave and daring women of aviation. Their bravery went beyond the early and perilous days of flying to breaking the glass ceiling as we call it today for women. Women in the 20’s were considered delicate and frail, definitely not suited to handle an airplane. That was for big strong men Sheinkin has done it again. His story like narration brings to life historical events readers will devour. We’ve all heard of Amelia Earhart and maybe Bessie Coleman. Here readers will get to know some incredibly brave and daring women of aviation. Their bravery went beyond the early and perilous days of flying to breaking the glass ceiling as we call it today for women. Women in the 20’s were considered delicate and frail, definitely not suited to handle an airplane. That was for big strong men. Women definitely should not work outside the home or God forbid, wear pants. Born To Fly In August 1929, a talented and outspoken group of female aviators spearheaded women’s rights when they participated in an all-woman nine-day, cross-country air race that kicked off in California. Quoting Henry Ford , “I pay our women well so they can dress attractively and get married.” The women were fighting centuries of bias. This aside, they were solely interested in becoming successful fliers. Changing public opinion of women’s capabilities was a secondary outcome. To name a few of the brave: Marvel Crosson, Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, were among the 99 (nearly all white) licensed female pilots in 1929. Flying opportunities for women of color were even MORE sharply limited. (Only African American Bessie Coleman is mentioned in this account.) Sheinkin is a master at storytelling where the facts are WELL researched and founded. This Women’s Air Derby was highly controversial which became even more so when a pilot was killed in a crash that may have been caused by someone tampering with her plane. Some wanted the women to fail so desperately to sabotage the planes. Born to a Fly explores the 1929 race in detail, using the event to reveal the lives of many of the early female fliers. The book includes a large number of period photographs and illustrations. and outstanding backmatter round out an engaging and enlightening historical novel. Suspenseful, informative, exciting, tragic and uplifting. (Nonfiction. 11-16)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Born to Fly by Steve Sheinkin, 262 pages. NON-FICTION Roaring Brook Press, 2019. $20. Language: PG (5 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE A group of daring women in the late 1920’s challenge the largely held viewpoint that women couldn’t fly, by competing in an Air Derby. Beginning when they were young girls, Sheinkin describes six of the girls and their love of taking to the air through jumping off roofs with umbrellas, to in Born to Fly by Steve Sheinkin, 262 pages. NON-FICTION Roaring Brook Press, 2019. $20. Language: PG (5 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS – ESSENTIAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE A group of daring women in the late 1920’s challenge the largely held viewpoint that women couldn’t fly, by competing in an Air Derby. Beginning when they were young girls, Sheinkin describes six of the girls and their love of taking to the air through jumping off roofs with umbrellas, to inventing their own rollercoasters. As they grew older each had their own moment when they knew they wanted to fly planes and their journey to participating in the Air Derby in 1929. The Air Derby is the bulk of the story but is interlaced with human interest stories about some of the pilots and the challenges they faced. The women pilots’ goal was to show the world that women were qualified to take to the skies. I loved this book. I got totally caught up in the Air Derby. I thought I had picked who I wanted to win the race, until Sheinkin would explain the backstory of another pilot and their spunk and by the end, I found myself cheering for all of them. This is an inspiring story that Sheinkin has masterfully plotted to draw in the reader and he made it impossible to put down. Reviewer, C. Peterson https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2020...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sheinkin focuses on the 13 women who won the race called the Women's Air Derby of 1929, plus another few who did not finish - their planes crashed or they died - in this novel-length non-fiction book which would be great for readers in a wide middle-school range; 5th to 9th grade. Full of drama, the narrative hops continuously between these "main characters" from stories of their childhoods, how they got into flying, preparing for the race, the race itself, and a little bit of their post-race li Sheinkin focuses on the 13 women who won the race called the Women's Air Derby of 1929, plus another few who did not finish - their planes crashed or they died - in this novel-length non-fiction book which would be great for readers in a wide middle-school range; 5th to 9th grade. Full of drama, the narrative hops continuously between these "main characters" from stories of their childhoods, how they got into flying, preparing for the race, the race itself, and a little bit of their post-race lives. Some readers may feel discombobulated trying to keep track of the various young women, and even for those who love the format and easily keep track of the different stories, it might wear thin eventually. Nevertheless, many readers will find it hard to put down, especially with occasional mentions of technological context reminding them of the fact that these first airplanes often broke down, crashed, caught fire, and the pilots & navigators were routinely injured, sometimes fatally. Since this story is so compelling and appealing (as much as our popular maritime disaster stories), it is unfortunate that Sheinkin didn't include charts, graphs, timelines, and historical/political/social context. A list of the race's participants and their age at the time would have been nice to see - not just the list of the winners and their standing/time (p. 199). As a gateway attention-grabber for reluctant readers, it **could have** helped kids place the nascent social acceptance of women as competent mechanics, collaborative leaders, and fiercely independent pilots in the context of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression...but readers will have to seek elsewhere for that. B&w crayon-pencil illustrations throughout are the perfect pause for the eyes, but I very much wished the many photos were twice their size, as they are full of important and interesting details of equipment, clothing, facial expressions, etc., which were barely visible at half a page. Despite these flaws, I highly recommend this book!

  21. 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anita McDivitt Barrios

    This is a riveting account of the women pilots who competed in the 1926 Air Derby, the women's version of a men's cross-country flying race that organizers originally hesitated to offer to women, fearing they weren't up for the challenge. Nonsense! Of course they were. It features the well-known Amelia Earhart, but also women pilots such as: Marvel Crosson Louise Thaden Pancho Barnes Florence Lowe Bobbi Trout Ruth Elder Gladys O'Donnell Vera Dawn Walker May Haizlip Phoebe Omlie Ruth Nichols As they This is a riveting account of the women pilots who competed in the 1926 Air Derby, the women's version of a men's cross-country flying race that organizers originally hesitated to offer to women, fearing they weren't up for the challenge. Nonsense! Of course they were. It features the well-known Amelia Earhart, but also women pilots such as: Marvel Crosson Louise Thaden Pancho Barnes Florence Lowe Bobbi Trout Ruth Elder Gladys O'Donnell Vera Dawn Walker May Haizlip Phoebe Omlie Ruth Nichols As they speed across the US, from California to Lake Erie, they have to deal with sabotage, exhaustion, carbon monoxide poisoning, getting lost when maps fly out of their hands, too many chicken dinners and constant dismissal of their efforts for no better reason than they're women. It's a riveting read, and the winner... oooh, I won't spoil the ending. Yes, it's history, but it's probably not who you think, so enjoy the read and learn about the amazing women who pioneered aviation in America! Teachers Note: There is a four-page teaching guide offered for free by the publisher, with questions aligned to Common Core standards. It offers two (2) before reading activities (that involve computers for research), 12 comprehension questions and a writing prompt, and five (5) after reading activities. Looking for more book suggestions for your 7th/8th grade classroom and students? Visit my blog for more great middle grade book recommendations, free teaching materials and fiction writing tips: https://amb.mystrikingly.com/

  23. 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, and while t 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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America by Steve Sheinkin presents a survey of women pilots in the early days of flying. If Amelia Earhardt is the only one you can name, you are woefully ignorant about some of the most daring flyers of the 1920s! The author gets us acquainted with each one including one who built her own plane even before she learned to fly, another who stirred up controversy by flying under the Brooklyn bridge at age 17, and many more impressive feats setting alt Born to Fly: The First Women's Air Race Across America by Steve Sheinkin presents a survey of women pilots in the early days of flying. If Amelia Earhardt is the only one you can name, you are woefully ignorant about some of the most daring flyers of the 1920s! The author gets us acquainted with each one including one who built her own plane even before she learned to fly, another who stirred up controversy by flying under the Brooklyn bridge at age 17, and many more impressive feats setting altitude and speed records, etc. Once you have a line on who's who, we learn how the first all-female Air Derby was planned and pulled off in 1929 despite a lot of opposition from the (mostly male) concerned members of the flying community. These women loved flying every bit as much if not more than their male counterparts. After reading this book you may want to find biographies and memoirs about each of them; I've already read several and found them fascinating. There's even one about my aunt (OK, by marriage to my uncle, her third or fourth one at that) whom I never met who went by the name of Pancho Barnes. Learn about her in 1988 movie of that same name or the book The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Lots of other memoirs out there as well. 'Nuff said on that!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    I never heard of The Women's Air Derby of 1929. Besides Amelia Earhart, the names of the other female contenders were also unfamiliar to me. Spunky and determined, they wanted to prove they could fly alone from Santa Monica, CA, to Cleveland, OH, in nine days. Sheinkin reveals their courage and their great pleasure in flying. In the beginning, I had trouble keeping track of the women as I read about their backgrounds. Perhaps more photos would have helped identify them rather than some of the we I never heard of The Women's Air Derby of 1929. Besides Amelia Earhart, the names of the other female contenders were also unfamiliar to me. Spunky and determined, they wanted to prove they could fly alone from Santa Monica, CA, to Cleveland, OH, in nine days. Sheinkin reveals their courage and their great pleasure in flying. In the beginning, I had trouble keeping track of the women as I read about their backgrounds. Perhaps more photos would have helped identify them rather than some of the well-drawn illustrations by Bijou Karman but maybe the photographs weren't available. Around page 77 of the book, the race begins. The pace picks up. Tension, troubles (including one death), and numerous mechanical problems occur. The author provides a helpful table showing the time records of the fastest pilots at different legs of the race. Louise Thaden turns out to be the winner (not Amelia Earhart). The story continues with a chapter on the race across the Atlantic, which is won by Earhart. An Epilogue follows with information on what happened to the racers after the Air Derby. Proof of Sheinkin's excellent research may be found in the Source Notes and Works Cited.Once again with a Steve Sheinkin book, I've learned something new in American history!

  26. 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.

  27. 4 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    3.5 Stars I have really loved Steve Sheinkin's other books and I love the subject matter of this book, but it just didn't excite me all that much. I love women who get out and do, breaking down barriers and beating the odds but this book was just the dreaded "Fine". It didn't love it and I didn't hate it. This is a story I haven't heard so I am very grateful to have read it. Also, and even the authors says this at the end... "How come we only really know about Amelia Earhart's story." All of t 3.5 Stars I have really loved Steve Sheinkin's other books and I love the subject matter of this book, but it just didn't excite me all that much. I love women who get out and do, breaking down barriers and beating the odds but this book was just the dreaded "Fine". It didn't love it and I didn't hate it. This is a story I haven't heard so I am very grateful to have read it. Also, and even the authors says this at the end... "How come we only really know about Amelia Earhart's story." All of the women in this race were incredible pilots and women. Amelia Earhart was no slouch but what about Florence "Pancho" Lowe Barnes Marvel Crosson Ruth Elder Claire Mae Fahy Edith Foltz Mary Haizlip Jessie Miller Opal Kunz Mary von Mach Ruth Nichols Blanche W. Noyes Gladys O’Donnell Phoebe Omlie Neva Paris Margaret Perry Thea Rasche, Louise Thaden Evelyn "Bobbi" Trout Vera Dawn Walker??? Well it is because Amelia had a better publicist . Yes my friends, the reason we know more about Amelia is marketing. I am so glad I got to read this but... LOUISE THADEN is awesome!

  29. 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!

  30. 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 and rapid swi 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

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