To Touch the Stars: A Story of World War II


Bring history to life with compelling stories,

sweeping scope, and a welcoming sense of diversity

  • Historical fiction helps students connect to their middle school


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Bring history to life with compelling stories,

sweeping scope, and a welcoming sense of diversity

  • Historical fiction helps students connect to their middle school

    social studies classes

  • Reading skill instruction and cross-curricular connections improve

    comprehension of historical fiction

  • Strong multicultural flavor reflects the rich tapestry of our shared

    American heritages

Jamestown's American Portraits, a saga of American families and friends,

traces the history of America from the founding of Jamestown to the Civil

Rights Movement. This is a unique, enriching series designed to teach

reading strategies appropriate for historical novels used in middle school

reading, language arts, or social studies classes.

  • Reading Level 5-8
  • Interest Level 6-8

In 1943, eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Erickson finds a way to support the war effort and realize her dream of becoming a pilot when she joins the Army's Women's Flying Training Detachment--later known as the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Part of the "Jamestown American Portrait" series, this edition tells the fictional story of Liz Erikson, an 18-year-old girl from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, who dreams of being an airplane pilot. The year is 1942 and World War II is in full swing. Liz lives with her father and brother, James, who tells part of the story. Liz' mother was a pilot herself, something special for those early days. She died when her plane crashed in a storm causing speculation on her abilities. Through a friend, Liz learns about a government program that trains women to fly planes between army bases to free much needed male pilots to concentrate on the war effort. Liz applies for and wins a place in the next class, but it means leaving her family behind and traveling to a base in Texas for training. The story follows Liz through her training and her relationship with her family, left behind. Liz graduates and in the process discovers something special about her mother. An afterword includes black and white photos and a description of actual women who served as ferrying pilots during World War II. This book is aligned to national standards and includes a web site for further information. 2004 (orig. 2000), Waterbird Books, Ages 9 to 12.
—Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
Children's Literature
In 1976 the Air Force announced that women would be accepted into the military for the first time in United States history. WASPs were deeply upset as their part in World War II had been overlooked. After all, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots delivered 75 percent of the aircraft used during the conflict! Congress did recognize these women and give them the honor they deserved. In 1942, Elizabeth Erickson from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, managed to secure a slot to become a ferry pilot. She loves the program and is a natural at flying. But it is a tough course and it seems that not everyone is enthralled with the idea of women pilots. Mysterious mechanical problems arise, and accidents occur. Elizabeth manages to overcome her fears, through the support of other women in the program and by drawing on her own resourcefulness. Although Elizabeth is a fictional character, several photographs of real women and their planes are included. The story is inspirational and should encourage other young women to follow their dreams. 2000, Jamestown Publishers/NTC, Ages 9 to 14, $5.95. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-In Heaven, the appalling conditions of the New York City sweatshops at the turn of the 20th century and the plight of young immigrant girls come to life as 14-year-old Gina Petrosino struggles with her sense of familial duty and her strong desires to further her education. Gina is an appealing protagonist, frustrated with the limited choices open to her and wanting independence while remaining part of the strict Italian family that she loves. Similarly, in Stars, 18-year-old Liz Erickson struggles for independence and career options in 1942, when women fought the war as well as societal attitudes. Expected to be polite and pretty, Liz prefers to fly airplanes. She is trying to cope with her pilot mother's mysterious death two years earlier, and has recently learned that someone has been sabotaging the Women's Airforce Service Pilots military program. Fascinating facts, exciting descriptions of flying, and a courageous main character contrast sharply with the stilted dialogue that imparts information but sounds nothing like realistic conversation. Despite the Nancy Drew-like prose, the story is compelling. Zeinert includes an excellent historical afterword, complete with photos of the main training facility.-Linda Bindner, formerly at Athens Clarke County Library, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809206308
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Publication date: 2/12/2001
  • Series: Jamestown Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 126
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

When the United States enters World War II, Americans everywhere look for some way to help win the war. With the help of her younger brother, 18-year-old Elizabeth Erickson of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, finds a unique way to support the war effort and realize her dream of becoming a pilot. While training for the army air force's ferrying program, which put more than 1,000 women to work delivering airplanes for the military, Elizabeth discovers her own courage and resourcefulness-and puts a troubling family mystery to rest.

Based on real events, this book highlights one of the least-known and most important home-front forces during the conflict-the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, who delivered 75 percent of the aircraft used during the war.

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