Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of Brave Bessie Coleman

Overview

Stock up for Black History Month and Women's History Month!

As a young black woman in the 1920s, Bessie Coleman's chances of becoming a pilot were slim. But she never let her dream die and became the first licensed African-American aviator. Reeve Lindbergh honors her memory with a poem that sings of her accomplishment. With bold illustrations by Pamela Paparone, NOBODY OWNS THE SKY will inspire readers to follow their dreams.

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Overview

Stock up for Black History Month and Women's History Month!

As a young black woman in the 1920s, Bessie Coleman's chances of becoming a pilot were slim. But she never let her dream die and became the first licensed African-American aviator. Reeve Lindbergh honors her memory with a poem that sings of her accomplishment. With bold illustrations by Pamela Paparone, NOBODY OWNS THE SKY will inspire readers to follow their dreams.

A rhymed telling of the life of the first African American aviator, who dreamed of flying as a child in the cotton fields of Texas, and persevered until she made that dream come true.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Coleman was the first licensed African American aviator, and the story of her perseverance is told in verse. "Lustrous, appealingly primitive acrylic art effectively conveys a sense of the '20s," said PW. Ages 5-up. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This is the story of Bessie Coleman, the first black female aviator. It is written in verse by the daughter of Charles Lindbergh and celebrates Bessie's humble beginnings, her dreams of flying and her rise to fame as a stunt pilot. The folk art paintings accompanying the tale are colorful and appropriate to the sometimes-corny verses, which most children enjoy.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This narrative poem using simple rhymes tells Bessie Coleman's life story and creates a cadence of bold rhythms that young children will want to hear again and again. Paparone's superb folk-art illustrations, rendered in brilliantly colorful acrylic paintings, provide accurate visual details of the Texas cotton fields of Bessie's childhood, Chicago's vibrant African-American community during World War I, and Paris in the 1920s. Perspective is perfectly realized in the end papers, which give bird's-eye views reflecting the world Bessie must have seen in her first courageous flights. There are jewels of subtlety in Paparone's illustrations, too. In one early scene from Bessie's Texas school years, readers spy students' artwork on a bulletin board. There among the horses and houses that other children drew is Bessie's picture of white clouds against a blue, blue sky. She had already imagined her future, "flying free, flying true." This appealing story is all about having and realizing dreams. Even though Bessie Coleman died tragically young, Nobody Owns the Sky is very much a celebration of life as well as a tribute to a young woman who dared to dream big. It is a splendid picture-book biography of the first order.-Jerry D. Flack, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Kirkus Reviews
Homage to a brave and dedicated aviation pioneer summoned in lyrical verse and paint-drenched, joyous illustrations.

Lindbergh (There's a Cow in the Road!, 1993, etc.) writes an inspiring poem about Bessie Coleman, who in 1922 became the first licensed African-American aviator in the world. "Nobody owns the sky" is Bessie's response when anyone tries to talk her out of becoming an aviator. After being turned away by schools in the US, Bessie left her job as a manicurist for flying lessons in France. Once she was licensed, she became a stunt flyer and gave speeches. Then tragedy struck: "But in Jacksonville, Florida, everyone cried,/Because Bessie's plane failed, and she fell, and she died." Vivid illustrations beautifully depict the upbeat message about pursuing dreams. One particularly vibrant painting of birds soaring in the cloud-filled sky illustrates the freedom inherent in flight: "With the wind on their wings, flying free, flying true/You can call to them all, you can say, `Hey, you!/I'm coming up there, too!' "

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763603618
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 811,153
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.56 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Reeve Lindbergh
Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of aviator Charles Lindbergh and poet Anne Morrow Lindbergh, first learned about Bessie Coleman in 1986, the 60th anniversary of her father's famous flight. "Bessie was an incredibly brave person who was hardly noticed, while my parents got so much publicity it was difficult for them to live their normal lives. I saw a crazy imbalance and wanted to try to set things right." Reeve Lindbergh lives in Vermont.

Pamela Paparone observes that NOBODY OWNS THE SKY is "about making dreams come true. My own dream has always been to be a children's book illustrator. In fact, I was ten years old when I created my first children's book. I dedicated it to Johnny Cash." Pamela Paparone lives in Pennsylvania.

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