Into the Wild Blue Yonder: Aviation History Month

It’s hard to imagine a world without commercial aircraft, aerial military divisions, and rocket ships, but these innovations would have been unthinkable to people born over one hundred years ago. This November, celebrate Aviation History Month by learning more about topics such as the balloon era, the Dresden Candy Bomber, and the almost astronauts of Mercury 13.

To find similar resources in the catalog, try using subject terms such as aviation, pilots, airplanes, and aeronautics. Pair these terms with “juvenile fiction” for fiction materials, “juvenile literature” for nonfiction materials, or “juvenile” to find both types of youth materials.

Early Years of Aviation

Bristow, David L. Sky Sailors: True Stories of the Balloon Era. 2010.
This volume traces the evolution of the balloon era, from 1783-1912, and examines the exploits of the men and women who flew in them, parachuted from them, and sometimes died in them. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books S. 910.4 B776s]

Griffith, Victoria. The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont. 2011.
While the Wright Brothers were “gliding” over Kitty Hawk, the charming Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont was making his own mark on the history of flight, becoming the first person to fly a self-propelled airplane.
[Center for Children’s Books S. S2374g]

Hulls, John. Rider in the Sky: How an American Cowboy Built England’s First Airplane. 2003.
Presents the life of the Texas cowboy who, after a varied career performing in and running his own Wild West show, became interested in aviation and eventually built and flew England’s first airplane in 1908. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage SB. C671ri]

Nez, John Abbott. Cromwell Dixon’s Sky-Cycle. 2009.
In 1907 Columbus, Ohio, fourteen-year-old Cromwell Dixon, aided by his mother, begins building the flying bicycle he has invented to enter in the St. Louis Air Ship Carnival. Includes facts about Dixon’s life as an aviation pioneer. Ages 4-8.
[Education S Collection SE. N4991c]

Priceman, Marjorie. Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride. 2005.
The story of the historic first hot-air balloon flight in 1783, told from the point of view of the duck, sheep, and rooster who were the first passengers. Ages 4-8.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books S. 629.133 P931h]

Van Leeuwen, Jean. The Amazing Air Balloon. 2002.
In this story based on true events, a thirteen-year-old apprentice takes the first manned hot air balloon flight in America and gains new insight into life’s possibilities. Ages 4-8.
[Education Storage S. V324am]

Zaunders, Bo. Feathers, Flaps & Flops: Fabulous Early Fliers. 2001.
Profiling several dynamic personalities and their trailblazing exploits, this celebration of the early days of aviation provides a history of human attempts to defy gravity, and the physical and emotional toughness that made present-day flight possible. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage S. 629.1309 Z19f]
The Wright Brothers

Busby, Peter. First to Fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright Invented the Airplane. 2002.
A look at the lives of the Wright brothers, from their childhood interest in flight, through their study of successful gliders and other flying machines, to their triumphs at Kitty Hawk and beyond. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage SB. W954b]

Maurer, Richard. The Wright Sister. 2003.
This is the first complete biography of the Wright Brothers’ sister. Beloved sibling, confidant, and caregiver, Katharine managed many of her brothers’ affairs. Based on a thorough study of her personal papers and the Wright archives. Ages 12+.
[Education Oak Street SB. W9472m]

McPhearson, Stephanie Sammartino and Joseph Sammartino Gardner. Wilbur & Orville Wright: Taking Flight. 2004.
A biography of the brothers who, in 1903, made the first powered, controlled flight in an airplane. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage SB. W954m]

Yolen, Jane. My Brothers’ Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me. 2003.
Provides a look at the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright, as seen through the eyes of their younger sister, Katharine, who provided support and encouragement while they worked on their many inventions. Ages 4-8.
[Education Storage SB. W9542y]
World War II

Fleischman, John. Black and White Airmen: Their True History. 2007.
John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun grew up in the same neighborhood, were in the same third grade class together, and flew planes in Germany during WWII. Due to segregation, however, they had almost no contact with each other until 50 years after the war ended. Old friends at last, Herb and John launched a mission to tell young people why race once made all the difference and why it shouldn’t anymore. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books S. 940.54 F628b]

McKissack, Patricia and Frederick. Red-Tail Angels: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. 1995.
A history of African American pilots with a focus on World War II, chronicling the amazing feats of the 332nd division–who never lost a bomber–and racism within the Air Force and U.S. society. Contains rarely-seen photos and extensive references. Ages 12+.
[Education Storage/Center for Children’s Books S. 940.544973 M217r]

Moss, Marissa. Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee. 2009.
Acclaimed author Moss tells the story of Maggie Gee, from her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area to becoming one of only two Chinese American Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) to serve during World War II. Ages 4-8.
[Education S Collection SB. G27s]

Nathan, Amy. Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II. 2001.
Here is the fascinating story of the first women to fly U.S. military aircraft—the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) of World War II. Through firsthand accounts, these women share their experiences as they test-fly newly repaired aircraft, drag banners behind their planes so male trainees can practice shooting moving targets, and ferry all kinds of aircraft from factories to military bases. Ages 9-12.
[Center for Children’s Books S. 940.54 N195y]

Tunnell, Michael O. Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot.” 2010.
After World War II, the U.S. and Britain airlifted food and supplies into Russian-blockaded West Berlin. U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering. To lift their spirits, he began dropping chocolate and gum by parachute. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books SB. H197t]

African American & Women Aviators

Bildner, Phil. The Hallelujah Flight. 2010.
In 1932, James Banning, along with his co-pilot Thomas Allen, make history by becoming the first African Americans to fly across the United States, relying on the generosity of people they meet in the towns along the way who help keep their “flying jalopy” going. Ages 4-8.
[Center for Children’s Books SE. B491h]

Blair, Margaret Whitman. The Roaring 20: The First Cross-Country Air Race for Women. 2006.
Celebrates the courage and drive of a collection of aviators who took part in the first cross-country air race for women in 1929 from California to Ohio, including Amelia Earhart, Louise Thaden, Ruth Elder, Opal Kunz, and Florence “Pancho” Barnes. Ages 9-12.
[Center for Children’s Books S. 797.52 B575r]

Brown, Tami Lewis. Soar, Elinor! 2010.
Brown tells the thrilling true story of legendary aviatrix Elinor Smith, who in 1928 pulled off a risky aeronautic feat skillfully and with style. Ages 4-8.
[Education S Collection SB. S6465b]

Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. 2011.
Tells the story of Amelia Earhart’s life – as a child, a woman, and a pilot – and describes the search for her missing plane. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books SB. E121f]

Grimes, Nikki. Talking about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman. 2002.
A biography of the first licensed female African American pilot. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection SB. C692g]

Langley, Wanda. Women of the Wind: Early Women Aviators. 2006.
Biographical profiles of nine women pilots from the early years of flight, including: Harriet Quimby, the first American woman to receive a pilot’s license; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman pilot; Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh and record-setting pilot in her own right; and legendary adventurer Amelia Earhart. Ages 12+.
[Education S Collection S. 629.13 L266w]
The Final Frontier

Skurzynski, Gloria. This Is Rocket Science: True Stories of the Risk-Taking Scientists who Figure Out Ways to Explore Beyond Earth. 2010.
A history of rockets and rocket science, from the Chinese discovery of gunpowder to the development of nuclear spacecraft and rockets that sail on the solar winds. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection S. 629.40922 Sk76t]

Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women who Dared to Dream. 2009.
When NASA was launched in 1958, 13 women proved they had as much of the right stuff as men to be astronauts, but their way to space was blocked by prejudice, insecurity, and a scrawled note written by one of Washington’s most powerful men. This is the true story of the Mercury 13 women. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books S. 629.450092 St724a]

Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. 2006.
Culled from direct quotes from the people behind the scenes, NASA transcripts, national archives and NASA photos, the whole story of Apollo 11 and the first moon landing emerges. Ages 9-12.
[Education S Collection/Center for Children’s Books S. 629.454 T348t]
All About Flight

Hansen, Ole Steen. The Story of Flight [Series]. 2003-2004.
This series of 12 information books covers the history of flight from the Wright Brothers to modern military aircraft. Topics include commercial aviation, military aircraft of World War I, seaplanes, and air combat. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage; various call numbers]

Jordan, David. The U.S. Air Force. 2005.
Presents key facts about the United States Air Force, including its history, strength, and missions, both at war and peace. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage S. 358.4 J762u]
Historical Fiction

Kerr, P. B. One Small Step. 2008.
In 1969 Houston, Texas, thirteen-year-old Scott learns to fly from his father, an Air Force flight instructor, but when NASA needs him for a secret space mission, Scott’s elation is tempered by concern that his mother, who has moved to Florida, will find out. Ages 9-12.
[Center for Children’s Books S. K465o]

Lawrence, Iain. B for Buster. 2004.
In the spring of 1943, sixteen-year-old Kak, desperate to escape his abusive parents, lies about his age to enlist in the Canadian Air Force and soon finds himself based in England as part of a crew flying bombing raids over Germany. Ages 12+.
[Center for Children’s Books S. L436bf]

Parker, Marjorie Hodgson. David & the Mighty Eighth. 2007.
When, during the London Blitz, he and his older sister are evacuated to go live on their grandparents” East Anglia farm, a young English boy finds it difficult to adjust to his new life until the arrival of the pilots and crews of the U.S. Air Force at nearby airfields brings excitement, friendship, and hope for the future. Ages 9-12.
[Education Storage S. P227d]

Smith, Sherri L. Flygirl. 2008.
During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl “passes” for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ages 12+.
[Center for Children’s Books S. Sm65f]

Airships & Corsets & Clockwork… Oh My!: Steampunk in YA Fiction

What exactly is “steampunk?” It’s a literary genre, visual aesthetic, and a vibrant community of individuals. Steampunk as it’s known today began as a response to the “cyberpunk” movement in science fiction the 1980s and 1990s. Inspired by late Victorian science fiction such as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, steampunk imagines a world in which Victorian steam-powered technology takes the place of modern nuclear and electronic technology. Steampunk also retains a strong Victorian sensibility when it comes to fashion: corsets are mixed with clockwork gears, and airships are often the primary mode of transportation. Some fans attend conventions of fellow steampunk enthusiasts or wear steampunk-inspired clothing in their everyday lives.

Because steampunk can be defined as several different genres in the library catalog (steampunk can also be classified as science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, or alternate history), a catalog search is not always productive when looking for steampunk fiction. While any of these terms can be used in a keyword or subject search, searching for “steampunk” in NoveList, Goodreads, or book review journals/databases can also be helpful.

Steampunk & Diversity: Some Resources

In its revisionist approach to history, steampunk is capable of exploring race in interesting, varied ways. Some steampunk literature, however, ignores minorities altogether or extends the prejudice of the Victorian era towards these groups. There is a growing multicultural movement within steampunk, however, and these resources provide an introduction to diverse books and groups within steampunk culture.

Beyond Victoriana

The Intersection of Race and Steampunk: Colonialism’s After-Effects & Other Stories, from a Steampunk of Colour’s Perspective

Multiculturalism for Steampunk

Silver Goggles

Steampunk Magazine

Some Japanese anime and manga have a strong steampunk sensibility as well and, in some cases, feature nonwhite characters in the leading roles. The popular seriesFullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa contains elements of steampunk.

Steampunk Fiction (YA/Ages 14+)*

(*The descriptions provided are for the first volume in the series unless otherwise noted.
The location CCB is the Center for Children’s Books.)

Carriger, Gail. The Parasol Protectorate [Series]
Soulless. 2009. [Residence Halls Lincoln Avenue SciFi/Fantasy 813 C2351s]
Changeless. 2010. [Residence Halls Lincoln Avenue SciFi/Fantasy 813 C2351ch]
Blameless. 2010. [Residence Halls Lincoln Avenue SciFi/Fantasy 813 C2351bl]
Heartless. 2011.

Soulless spinster Alexia Tarabotti accidentally kills a vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. Everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Clare, Cassandra. The Infernal Devices [Series]
Clockwork Angel. 2010. [CCB S.C541cl]
Clockwork Prince. 2011.

The year is 1878. Searching for her missing brother, sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld and finds herself up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork demons, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her Shadowhunter allies can stop them. Prequel to Clare’s bestselling The Mortal Instruments series.

Colfer, Eoin. Airman. 2008. [Education S Collection S.C68air]

In the 1890s, Conor Broekart and his family live in a castle on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. When Conor tries to expose a plot to kill the king, he is branded a traitor and thrown into jail on the prison island of Little Saltee. Flight is his only means of escape, so he passes the solitary months by scratching drawings of flying machines into the prison walls. The months turn into years, but eventually the day comes when Conor must find the courage to trust his revolutionary designs and take to the skies.

Cornish, D. M. Monster’s Blood Tattoo [Series]
Foundling. 2006. [Education S Collection S.C816f]
Lamplighter. 2008. [Education Storage S.C816l]
Factorum. 2010. [Education S Collection S.C816fa]

Having grown up in a home for foundlings and possessing a girl’s name, Rossamünd sets out to report to his new job as a lamplighter and has several adventures along the way as he meets people and monsters who are more complicated that he previously thought. The fictional world of Half-Continent bears a strong resemblance to a Dickensian London powered by alchemy and fantastical scientific inventions.

De Quidt, Jeremy. The Toymaker. 2008. [Education S Collection S.D443t]

What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could give a toy a heart that would beat and beat and didn’t stop? From the moment that the circus boy, Mathias, takes a small roll of paper from the dying conjuror, his fate is sealed. For on it is the key to a terrifying secret, and there are those who would kill him rather than have it told. Pursued by the sinister Dr. Leiter and preyed on by the circus master and his wife, Mathias is drawn into a relentless nightmare that will lead him to the Toymaker, and to a knife as cruel as frost.

Dolamore, Jaclyn. Magic Under Glass. 2010. [CCB S.D6856m]

When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires Nimira to sing with a piano-playing automaton, she believes it is the start of a new and better life. But unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry’s involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.

Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron [Series]
Incarceron. 2010. [Education S Collection S.F531i2010]
Sapphique. 2010. [Education S Collection S.F531sa2010]

Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside. Escape seems impossible until Finn finds a crystal key that allows him to communicate with a girl named Claudia, the Warden’s daughter. Claudia believes that she can escape her arranged marriage and free Finn. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye, and escape will take their greatest courage and cost more than they know.

Harland, Richard. Worldshaker. 2010. [CCB S.H2267w]

Col Porpentine understands how society works: The elite families enjoy a comfortable life on the Upper Decks of the great juggernaut Worldshaker, and the Filthies toil Below Decks. Col’s grandfather, the Supreme Commander of Worldshaker, is grooming Col as his successor. Col believes Filthies are like animals until he meets Riff, a Filthy girl on the run who is clever and quick. If Riff is telling the truth, then everything Col has been told is a lie. And Col has the power to do something about it–even if it means risking his whole future.

Kittredge, Caitlin. Iron Codes [Series]
The Iron Thorn. 2011. [Education S Collection S.K6581i]

In an alternate 1950s, the Proctors rule the city of Lovecraft and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order–including Heretical beliefs such as magic and witchcraft–to dust. Every member of fifteen-year-old Aoife Grayson’s family, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their sixteenth birthday. Now a ward of the state and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, Aoife must leave Lovecraft in order to solve the mysteries of the city and, perhaps, change her fate.

Oppel, Kenneth. Matt Cruse [Series]
Airborn. 2004. [CCB S.Op5a]
Skybreaker. 2006. [CCB S.Op52s]
Starclimber. 2009. [Education Storage S.OP5D1993]

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

Pullman, Philip. His Dark Materials [Series]
The Golden Compass. 1996. [Education Storage S.P967N1996]
The Subtle Knife. 1997. [Education S Collection S.P967th]
The Amber Spyglass. 2000. [Education S Collection S.p967a]

Lyra Belacqua’s carefree life at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, who appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. Left in the care of the enigmatic Mrs. Coulter, Lyra sets out for the top of the world to free her friend, Roger, from the Gobblers with the help of a rare, truth-telling golden compass.

Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb [Series]
Fever Crumb. 2009. [CCB:S.R259f]
Web of Air. 2011.

The foundling Fever Crumb is the only female apprentice in the Order of Engineers, an organization that exists in an alternate future London where women are not considered capable of rational thought. When she leaves to assist archaeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project, Fever discovers that she may be a Scrivener–a member of an inhuman race marked for execution–and that her missing memories are the key to a secret at the heart of London.

Reeve, Philip. Hungry City Chronicles [Series]
Mortal Engines. 2003. [CCB S.R259mo]
Predator’s Gold. 2004. [CCB S.R259pr]
Infernal Devices. 2005. [CCB S.R259i]
A Darkling Plain. 2007. [CCB S.R259d]

In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice named Tom saves his master, the historian Thaddeus Valentine, from an assassination attempt, only to be pushed–literally–out of London by the very man he admires. Stranded in the perilous Out-Country with the assassin, Tom must determine the truth about his world and save it from destruction.

Reeve, Philip. Larklight [Series]
Larklight. 2006. [Education S Collection S.R259la]
Starcross. 2007. [CCB S.R259s]
Mothstorm. 2008. [Education Storage S.R259m]

In an alternate Victorian London, Art Mumsby and his irritating sister Myrtle live with their father in a huge and rambling house called Larklight that just happens to be traveling through outer space. When a visitor called Mr. Webster arrives for a visit, it is far from an innocent social call. Before long Art and Myrtle are off on an adventure to the furthest reaches of space, where they will do battle with evil forces in order to save each other–and the universe.

Richards, Justin. The Death Collector. 2006. [CCB S.R391d]

What starts as an ordinary pick-pocketing incident in Victorian London unites three teens against a madman. Eddie is the pickpocket; George is an assistant at the British Museum; Elizabeth has a nose for trouble–and all of them are being hunted by Augustus Lorimore. Lorimore is a sinister factory owner, a villain bent on reanimating the dead, both humans and dinosaurs–and one of each is already terrorizing the streets of London. It’s up to Eddie, George, and Elizabeth to stop Lorimore’s monsters . . . or die trying.

Slade, Arthur. The Hunchback Assignments [Series]
The Hunchback Assignments. 2009. [Education S Collection S.Sl12h]
The Dark Deeps. 2010.
Empire of Ruins. 2011.

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a hunchbacked child with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, from a traveling freak show. Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire, then abandons the teenager on the streets of Victorian London. Modo encounters Association agent Octavia Milkweed, as well as the sinister machinations of Clockwork Guild, a mad scientist bent on turning the city’s orphans into zombies, and a plot against the British government that only he and Octavia can prevent.

Westerfeld, Scott. Leviathan [Series]
Leviathan. 2009. [CCB S.W523l]
Behemoth. 2010. [CCB S.W5233b]
Goliath. 2011.

At the cusp of WWI, the Austro-Hungarians and Germans are poised to pit their steam-driven Clankers, iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition, against the British Darwinists’ fabricated animals. Aleksandar Ferdinand, dethroned prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, makes an alliance with British airman Deryn, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service whose secret is in constant danger of being discovered. Aboard the Leviathan–a whale airship–the two unlikely allies begin a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Wrede, Patricia C. Frontier Magic [Series]
Thirteenth Child. 2009. [CCB S.W925th]
Across the Great Barrier. 2011.

Eighteen-year-old Eff, who lives in an alternate version of the American West, must finally get over believing she is bad luck and accept that her special training in Aphrikan magic, and being the twin of the seventh son of a seventh son, give her extraordinary power to combat the magical creatures that threaten settlements on the frontier.

Yep, Laurence. City Trilogy [Series]
City of Fire. 2009. [Education S Collection S.Y43ci]
City of Ice. 2011.

In an alternate version of 1941, twelve-year-old Scirye’s older sister dies trying to prevent the theft of one of her people’s great treasures. Scirye sets out to avenge her and recover the precious item, and with the help of a street urchin, a dragon, and a tanuki, she pursues the thieves to Houlani, a new Hawaiian island being created by magic. Even with Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, on their side, they may not be able to stop Mr. Roland from gaining the Five Lost Treasures of Emperor Yu, which will give him the power to alter the very fabric of the universe.