WOOD, WIRE, WINGS by Kirsten W. Larson


Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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A heroine of the skies is given her due.

In the early 20th century, Emma Lilian Todd built on the ideas of the Wright brothers and others to create an airplane that successfully flew. A person who disappeared into history after adding to the knowledge of the era, Todd is resurrected here as a role model who can provide encouragement and inspiration by virtue of her single-minded dedication and resilience. Energetic, thoughtful text punctuated by Todd’s own words and Subisak’s inventive, warmly outlined full-color illustrations follow her life from a childhood interest in the way things work—her inventor grandfather was an influence—through her subsequent work at the U.S. Patent Office to her many trials and errors in creating prototypes and eventually a working plane. The focus is on her work as an inventor rather than her personal life, and the additional obstacles she faced as a woman are acknowledged organically in context. While Emma Todd certainly contributed to the development of the airplane, what stands out in this selection is not her invention but her fascination with flight and engineering, her determination to explore her interests whether society approved or not, and her perception of failure as a challenge. Todd and those around her present white.

Celebrates its subject’s resilience as much as her contributions to STEM and aeronautics. (author’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-62979-938-4
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020


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