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NOBODY OWNS THE SKY by Reeve Lindbergh


The Story of ``Brave Bessie'' Coleman

by Reeve Lindbergh & illustrated by Pamela Paparone

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-56402-533-0
Publisher: Candlewick

 Homage to a brave and dedicated aviation pioneer summoned in lyrical verse and paint-drenched, joyous illustrations. Lindbergh (There's a Cow in the Road!, 1993, etc.) writes an inspiring poem about Bessie Coleman, who in 1922 became the first licensed African-American aviator in the world. ``Nobody owns the sky'' is Bessie's response when anyone tries to talk her out of becoming an aviator. After being turned away by schools in the US, Bessie left her job as a manicurist for flying lessons in France. Once she was licensed, she became a stunt flyer and gave speeches. Then tragedy struck: ``But in Jacksonville, Florida, everyone cried,/Because Bessie's plane failed, and she fell, and she died.'' Vivid illustrations beautifully depict the upbeat message about pursuing dreams. One particularly vibrant painting of birds soaring in the cloud-filled sky illustrates the freedom inherent in flight: ``With the wind on their wings, flying free, flying true/You can call to them all, you can say, `Hey, you!/I'm coming up there, too!' '' (Picture book. 6-9)