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WIND FLYERS by Angela Johnson Kirkus Star


by Angela Johnson & illustrated by Loren Long

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 2007
ISBN: 0-689-84879-X
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In spare, lyrical prose and vibrant acrylic paintings, three-time Coretta Scott King Award–winner Johnson and acclaimed illustrator Long introduce readers to the WWII Tuskegee airmen, the African-American squadron that “distinguished themselves as the only escort group that never lost a single bomber to enemy fire.” Johnson’s young narrator tells the story of his great-great-uncle who so loved to fly that with “his arms flapping, he jumped off a chicken coop when he was five,” went up with a barnstormer when he was 11 and went on to become a Tuskegee wind flyer in the war. This will no doubt inspire important conversations about history and race, but the heart of the piece has to do with the universal desire to follow our passions, overcome obstacles and realize our dreams. Nothing makes this clearer than Long’s illustrations, which draw readers in, making them feel as though they too are gazing up into the perfect blue of the sky. Just as surely as the narrator and his uncle find magic in the clouds and the wind, readers will find plenty to marvel at in the pages of this compelling offering. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)