Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine
by Heather Lang; Illustrated by Raul Colón
Calkins Creek (March 1, 2016)
Audience: Grades 2 to 5
Nonfiction * Biography* Women's History * Aviation
IndieBound | WorldCat
Description of the book:
Ruth Law thrilled spectators in the 1900s by performing the loop-the-loop and other daredevil tricks in her flying machine. But after years of flying in circles, Law was determined to do what no pilot had ever done: fly nonstop from Chicago to New York City in one day. On a windy November morning, she took off on a flight that experts predicted was doomed to fail. Her flying machine was outdated, and no woman could endure such a grueling cross-country trip. That’s what the experts said—but they didn’t know Ruth Law. Heather Lang and Raúl Colón re-create a thrilling episode in aviation history that takes readers into the sky with courageous Ruth Law. Includes archival photographs and bibliography.
Check out the Official Book Trailer debuting here:
My thoughts on the book & a brief interview with Heather:
Though I do not see myself as being particularly daring or adventurous, I do admire women who are. Particularly women who lived during time periods where it was unacceptable for women to do what was seen as only for men.
As a tween, I had a weird fascination with World War II aircrafts and wondered what it would be like to fly one of them. And whenever I discover a biography on a woman aviator, I am sure to read it. Consequently, I was curious about what drew Lang to this project.
Heather: I've always been intrigued by early aviators who risked their lives every time they went up in their flying machines, so I went in search of an early woman aviator. I spent many hours reading about these daring women, and Ruth's story grabbed me immediately. Her passion, determination, and courage came through in her own words, which I knew could add a powerful dimension to the text.
Since I love hearing about an author's research process and because I was curious to learn more about Ruth Law. I asked Heather to share with everyone about the research behind this book.
Heather: My research adventure for FEARLESS FLYER began mostly with historic newspapers, which contained interviews with Ruth and lots of details about her 1916 flight. Next I journeyed down to the National Air and Space Museum where they have a terrific early flight exhibit. I spent a lot of time at the archives exploring their photo files and Ruth Law's giant scrapbook. I also consulted with a number of experts, including folks from the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum and a retired Navy Commander who builds Curtiss pusher biplanes, just like the plane Ruth flew.
In Fearless Flyer, Lang has combined the story of Ruth Law's historical flight from Chicago to New York in 1916 with quotes from Law. This brought the story alive as I read it.
Now picture books usually don't have the length to be heart-stopping, but Fearless Flyer kept me on the "edge of my seat". Ruth's flight in her biplane was a dangerous one on so many levels.
When Ruth's plane nearly ran out of gas and she had to find a way to land or when fog made visibility impossible, her quick-thinking and intelligence helped her to survive.
My favorite spread in the book is when Ruth circles the Statute of Liberty. What a fabulous quote: "She smiled at me when I went past. She did!...I think we both feel alike about things."
What a better way to kick off the start of Women's History Month but by celebrating such a daring, intelligent, adventurous woman as Ruth Law. Pick up a copy of Fearless Flyer at your local indie bookstore.
About the author:
Heather Lang loves to research and write about real women who overcame extraordinary obstacles and never gave up on their dreams. Her pictures book biographies include, Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion (Boyds Mills Press, 2012), The Original Cowgirl: The Wild Adventures of Lucille Mulhall (Albert Whitman, 2015), and Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (Calkins Creek, 2016). Heather also volunteers for the SCBWI and writes web articles for the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. When she is not writing, she loves to go on adventures with her husband and four children. Visit Heather at www.heatherlangbooks.com. Girls With Grit Blog can be found here.
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