This account of women aviators during World War II is distinctive for its presentation.
This tribute to women in flight traces the dreams of three fictional, representative girls—an American woman named Hazel, an Englishwoman named Marlene, and a Russian woman named Lilya—who pursue their passion for flying against many odds. Aptly labeled “creative nonfiction,” the narrative focuses on the spirits and determination of the women and less so on plain facts. Each struggles against many inequities of gender bias, especially American and British regulations that hold women back from combat even though they have received the same training the men do—Lilya, on the other hand, is part of an all-female Soviet combat regiment. The design elements make the book soar: a larger-than-usual format, airy wash illustrations, and page composition that flows from spot art to one- and two-page spreads. Especially effective are the pages of multiple small images detailing the women in various phases of daily life. Even the paper quality stands out. This homage to the historic efforts of women determined to fly is a special addition to women’s studies that provides an unusual context and somewhat communal point of view based on actual events. While there are numerous adult and older reader titles on the subject, there are few for a younger age group.
Exceptional. (author’s note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. 8-12)