Suspenseful, informative, and remarkably uplifting.

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BORN TO FLY

THE FIRST WOMEN'S AIR RACE ACROSS AMERICA

In August 1929, a talented group of female aviators spearheaded women’s rights when they participated in an all-woman nine-day, cross-country air race that kicked off in California.

Henry Ford had remarked, “I pay our women well so they can dress attractively and get married.” The women were fighting centuries of bias, but all of them were primarily interested in becoming successful fliers; changing the public’s opinion of women’s capabilities was a secondary outcome. Marvel Crosson, Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Nichols, and others were among the 99 (nearly all white) licensed female pilots in 1929; the other 8,901 were men. Flying opportunities for women of color were even more sharply limited. (Only African American Bessie Coleman is mentioned in this account.) Sheinkin is a master at finding and following narrative hooks, as when he recounts the already highly controversial Women’s Air Derby, which became even more so when a pilot was killed in a crash that may have been caused by someone tampering with her plane. Although Sheinkin covers much of the same ground as Keith O’Brien’s Fly Girls (2019), this effort explores the 1929 race in detail, using that microcosm to reveal the lives of several of the early female fliers. Fascinating prose, a large number of period photographs augmented by Karman’s illustrations, and outstanding backmatter round out an engaging and enlightening presentation. Well-rounded collections should include both of these excellent resources.

Suspenseful, informative, and remarkably uplifting. (Nonfiction. 11-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-130-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees—including a 9-year-old, two teenage...

WE'VE GOT A JOB

THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN'S MARCH

Triumph and tragedy in 1963 “Bombingham,” as children and teens pick up the flagging civil rights movement and give it a swift kick in the pants.

Levinson builds her dramatic account around the experiences of four young arrestees—including a 9-year-old, two teenage activists trained in nonviolent methods and a high school dropout who was anything but nonviolent. She opens by mapping out the segregated society of Birmingham and the internal conflicts and low levels of adult participation that threatened to bring the planned jail-filling marches dubbed “Project C” (for “confrontation”), and by extension the entire civil rights campaign in the South, to a standstill. Until, that is, a mass exodus from the city’s black high schools (plainly motivated, at least at first, almost as much by the chance to get out of school as by any social cause) at the beginning of May put thousands of young people on the streets and in the way of police dogs, fire hoses and other abuses before a national audience. The author takes her inspiring tale of courage in the face of both irrational racial hatred and adult foot-dragging (on both sides) through the ensuing riots and the electrifying September bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, then brings later lives of her central participants up to date.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-627-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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