Children's Literature - Tracy DefinaPicking cotton in 1901 Waxahachie, Texas is not enough for nine-year-old Bessie Coleman. She's dreaming of a world in the sky far from where Blacks are separated from Whites. Black children work in the fields while White children are in school. Even the circus is for "Whites only". Bessie's Ma always says that we are all the same under God's eyes. Believing this is enough to motivate Bessie to achieve her dream of flying. Making her way to Louis Armstrong's Chicago as a young woman and then to France where she learns to fly, Bessie is on her way. In 1921, she returns to the U.S. as the first black aviator in the world. Bessie Coleman's story will inspire young dreamers and is the perfect book to celebrate Black History Month in February. Buchanan's bright lucid watercolors beautifully convey the many moods in this moving story.
A brief biography of the woman who, in 1921, became the first African American to earn a pilot's license.
Kirkus ReviewsJoseph (Jump Up Time, p. 1119, etc.) uses a strong, steady present-tense narration to tell the story of Bessie Coleman, African-American, Texan, and world's first black woman aviator. What makes this treatment appealing is that Coleman's life lends itself to hyperbole, but Joseph reigns it in, imbuing the story with power and dignity. It will make readers angry at the injustices of the era: Jim Crow laws, whites-only ticket lines, Coleman's trip to France to get her pilot's license because her aspirations were considered absurd in the US. Joseph allows inspiration to form from a quiet presentation of facts; adding to the aura of possibility and grace under fire are Buchanan's sure, atmospheric ink-and-watercolor illustrations. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)
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