Tanaka, Shelley. Illustrated by David Craig. (Abram, 2008. ISBN 9780810970953. Order Info.) Nonfiction. 48 pages. Grades 4-7.
Amelia Earhart saw her first airplane at the Iowa State Fair in 1908 when she was only eleven but she was not impressed. Later in life, after working as a nurse's aid, file clerk, photographer, truck driver, teacher and social worker, she was asked to ride as a passenger on a very risky flight across the Atlantic. This made her the first woman to travel in a plane across the Atlantic. She became famous and began a career as a pilot and public speaker.
She spoke extensively on the roles of women and their ability to do anything men can do. She also talked about the experience of flying -- wanting people to not be afraid and to embrace this new form of transportation.
In 1932 she became the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic. In 1935 she became the first female pilot to fly from Hawaii to California. In 1937 she flew three quarters of the way around the world before disappearing over the ocean.
This book covers her childhood and her flying career. It is well written, full of great information even as it flows along quickly. The text is illustrated with period photographs and a few original illustrations. It won the 2009 Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction.
The author goes into the theories of what might have happened to her on that final flight and shows photos of some of the artifacts that have been found on the island where she and her navigator may have been stranded. Source notes, a bibliography, recommended websites and an index are included.
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