Book Review: Women Aviators

Women Aviators
By: Karen Bush Gibson
Published By: Chicago Review Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Page Count: 240
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Nonfiction, Women's History

I love finding nonfiction books that showcase Women's History. For so much of historical record, men's stories dominated the focus. It's nice to see more and more women being showcased. I think this provides positive role models for young women. I also appreciated that this book features women from a variety of races. I can see several of my students really enjoying this one as a result.

When I think of women in aviation my mind immediately goes to Amelia Earhart. Hers is a story we learn when we are little. The mystery of her disappearance kept me fascinated. I loved coming up with hypotheses for her fate. I spent countless hours trying to figure out what nobody before had been able to discover. I expected to see her story lingering within these pages and I wasn't disappointed.

In addition to Amelia's story, there were also countless other stories that held my attention. Many of these women I have never heard of before, but their strength and courage is something to be admired. Many of the women in this book did amazing things in time periods where women were supposed to stay at home to be wives and mothers. These women craved adventure and something more than vacuuming and cooking dinner. It's hard not to be inspired by their stories.

I'd highly recommend picking this one up if you're interested in learning more about women in aviation or have a passion for Women's History.

From the very first days of aviation, women were there. Katherine Wright, though not a pilot, helped her brothers Orville and Wilbur so much that some called her the “Third Wright Brother.” Pioneers such as Baroness Raymonde de Laroche of France ignored those who ignorantly claimed that only men possessed the physical strength or the mental capacity to pilot an airplane, and in 1910 became the first woman awarded a license to fly. A year later, Harriet Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States and in 1912 flew across the English Channel—another first.

            Author Karen Bush Gibson profiles 26 women aviators who sought out and met challenges both in the sky and on the ground, where some still questioned their abilities. Read about barnstormers like Bessie Coleman and racers like Louise Thaden, who bested Amelia Earhart and Pancho Barnes to win the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, sometimes called the Powder Puff Derby. Learn about Jacqueline Cochran who, during World War II, organized and trained the Women Airforce Service Pilots—the WASPs—to serve their country by ferrying airplanes from factories to the front lines and pulling target planes during anti-aircraft artillery training. And see how female pilots today continue to achieve and serve while celebrating their love of flight.