best books for girls, girl role models, female aviators, girls who dare to fly

Best Books for Girls: Girls Who Dare to Fly

Girls Who Dream of Flying

I love a mighty girl character or real life role model for my girls. These girls all dared to fly at a time when flying was a great adventure. What makes girls daring enough to say “What If … Women Were Aviators?” And how can we encourage this? I’ve picked three books to explore this idea … a picture book, easy chapter book biography, and historical fiction middle grade chapter book. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Picture Book for Girls  Who Ask “What If?”

Zephyr Takes Flight by Steve Light

Zephyr, a little girl, loves airplanes. She makes them, plays with them and hopes to fly one day. But no one in her family wants to play airplane with her. When she has a spectacular crash, she is sent to her room … where she finds ways to fly! A girl version of Where The Wild Things Are! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

 

Easy Biography Chapter Book for Girls

Who Was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Jerome

I like this short chapter book biography series with text broken up with illustrations on each page. It gives an honest and thorough overview of her life with lots of interesting details of her life growing up that kids can relate to. [easy chapter book biography, ages 8 and up]

Middle Grade Historical Fiction Chapter Book for Girls

Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl

Beryl Markham, if a half blood (ok, reading a lot of Percy Jackson right now), would have been a child of Artemis. Her true story reads like an adventure heroine of any age but particularly for her time, at the turn of the century. Her life was lived spectacularly, making Amelia Earhart seem tame by comparison. Raised in part by Maori warriors as a tween in Kenya, a female horse trainer, and then a great aviator adventurer. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

 

More Great Mighty Girls Books Suggested by Readers

Thank you to readers Maria, Monise, Mel, Alex and Kellye for their great book suggestions for more great Mighty Girl role models. I am especially excited to learn of women of color who were aviator pioneers and yet relatively unknown.

Flygirl by Sherri L Smith (older middle grades) and Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, which is non fiction about women who tried to become part of the space program.

 

Another picture book suggestion is ‘Talkin Bout Bessie’ the story of Bessie Coleman, the first black female pilot by Nikki Grimes. Review by Randomly Reading.

Bessie was the first female African American pilot AND the first African American to hold an international pilot license…And it is an inspirational story – education was a luxury back in the early part of the 20th century for many kids who had to earn money to help support their family, but Bessie persevered – walking miles and miles to school, when she could attend, and to pick up and return the laundry her mother did to earn money. from Randomly Reading

 

I second Mel’s suggestion of ‘Almost Astronauts.’ Also, Tami Lewis Brown’s picturebook, ‘Soar, Elinor,’ is the thrilling true story of Elinor Smith, America’s youngest pilot–girl or boy. The acclaimed ya novel, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein also prominently features a teen girl pilot during WWII.

 

How about Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss. Maggie Gee dreamt of flying as a child. When she grew up, she was one of two Chinese American woman to serve with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in WW2. It is a wonderful picture book. Thank you to Monise Seward for this recommendation!

 

Great topic, and lots of great titles here!I Code Name Verity was one of my favorite books read last year, and I especially liked the pilot/engineer Maddie’s voice. I also liked Soar Elinor, Talkin’ Bout Bessie and Almost Astronauts (and the rest of Tanya Lee Stone’s work.)

Amelia Lost, by Candace Fleming, is also a very gripping and well told biography of Amelia Earheart, of the woman behind the myth, chock full of wonderful photos.

 

I found this on the excellent blog, The Non Fiction Detectives:

In 1930, when other girls are content to play with dolls, Betty June Skelton played with her metal plane. And so begins this engaging picture book biography about a woman who dared to dream high and became the first lady of firsts.

Daredevil: the Daring Life of Betty Skelton by Meghan McCarthy

 Please click on image of book to view more closely at Amazon, or here to see at Barnes and Noble.

best books for girls, girl role models, female aviators, girls who dare to fly

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

24 Comments

  1. I love ‘Who Was Amelia Earhart’ – the whole series is awesome. I also love Flygirl by Sherri L Smith (older middle grades) and Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone, which is non fiction about women who tried to become part of the space program
    Mel recently posted…AWW Challenge 2013: Week TwoMy Profile

  2. Monise

    Great topic! Another picture book suggestion is ‘Talkin Bout Bessie’ the story of Bessie Coleman, the first black female pilot.
    Monise recently posted…Our Homeschool Bookshelf 1/10/2013My Profile

  3. I second Mel’s suggestion of ‘Almost Astronauts.’ Also, Tami Lewis Brown’s picturebook, ‘Soar, Elinor,’ is the thrilling true story of Elinor Smith, America’s youngest pilot–girl or boy. The acclaimed ya novel, Code Name Verity, also prominently features a teen girl pilot during WWIi.

  4. How about Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss. Maggie Gee dreamt of flying as a child. When she grew up, she was one of two Chinese American woman to serve with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) in WW2. It is a wonderful picture book.
    Alex Baugh recently posted…From the Archives #2: The Long Way Home by Margot Benary-IsbertMy Profile

    • Hi Alex,
      Thank you for Sky High!!! Sounds like a wonderful picture book and I especially love finding Asian American role models. I’ve never heard of Maggie Gee which is sad because I am Asian American. I’ll add it to my post and will get a copy of the book for my kids! Thank you!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…2nd Grade Math Facts: Free SiteMy Profile

  5. Maria Gianferrari

    Great topic, and lots of great titles here!I Code Name Verity was one of my favorite books read last year, and I especially liked the pilot/engineer Maddie’s voice. I also liked Soar Elinor, Talkin’ Bout Bessie and Almost Astronauts (and the rest of Tanya Lee Stone’s work.)

    Amelia Lost, by Candace Fleming, is also a very gripping and well told biography of Amelia Earheart, of the woman behind the myth, chock full of wonderful photos.

  6. I love the picture book Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride about the friendship between Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s best described as historical fiction.
    Even in Australia recently posted…Birthday Books and Inscriptions for a 5-Year-OldMy Profile

  7. I love your list and will continue to add to it this year with STEM titles. Don’t forget to participate in the Women’s History Month kidlit blogs because these titles would be perfect.

  8. What a great idea for a list! I really want to read Code Name Verity soon. Meghan McCarthy has a picture book coming out (this year?) about a female daredevil. I can’t remember her name off the top of my head, though!

  9. What an awesome list! I’ll have to look out for these.
    Elle Carter Neal recently posted…RevisionsMy Profile

  10. Just pinned it to keep for later! My girls are still too young for these, but it’s always on my mind that I want them to see and read about strong, amazing women!

  11. I love this list. I have a post in the works for my Things That GO! Series and would love to include this post when I focus on Airplanes. I will be adding many of these books to our library list as I believe it is important for me to read books to my boys that also have strong female characters, not just boys.
    Jen Fischer recently posted…Kids Get Arty: Romero BrittoMy Profile

    • Hi Jen,
      Thanks so much! I would love your link to Things that GO! Series. Thanks so much for including me in your post on Airplanes. I agree with you that girls needs strong role models and books are a great way to expose them. I especially think role models in science, math and engineering are so important as well as other traditionally male dominated fields like aviation. Thanks so much for your comment!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Art Project for Kids: Making Paint Like ImpressionistsMy Profile

  12. Fen loved that Who Was Amelia Earhart book. I was excited and read it over and over to her to help her suck some of that awesome bravery into her system. What a great post this is!
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…Carved Animal Tile ProjectMy Profile

    • Thanks Jeanette,
      I’d love for Fen to read about Beryl Markham. She’s really remarkable and even more of a pioneer than Amelia Earhart was in her day though they were contemporaries on different continents. Truly, Beryl Markham makes Amelia look like a wimp. I only just discovered her from that historical fiction chapter book. We don’t learn about her in the U.S. since she was a Brit by way of Africa.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Art Project for Kids: Making Paint Like ImpressionistsMy Profile

  13. Ann

    I do do do love biographies, SO inspiring!
    Ann recently posted…Snow SurpriseMy Profile

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