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]