Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright

Overview

On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers took their historic first flight, and by 1909 the brothers were full-fledged celebrities. In September of that year, Wilbur and Orville finally showed the world, firsthand, just what they had achieved.
In the United States, Wilbur delighted the crowd with spectacular flying demonstrations in New York City during the city's Hudson-Fulton Celebration. He flew over the harbor, glided past tall buildings, looped the Statue of Liberty, and ...

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Overview

On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers took their historic first flight, and by 1909 the brothers were full-fledged celebrities. In September of that year, Wilbur and Orville finally showed the world, firsthand, just what they had achieved.
In the United States, Wilbur delighted the crowd with spectacular flying demonstrations in New York City during the city's Hudson-Fulton Celebration. He flew over the harbor, glided past tall buildings, looped the Statue of Liberty, and even traveled up the Hudson River to Grant's Tomb. The people of New York were astonished and thrilled to witness these unbelievable flights. At the same time, Orville held daring public exhibitions in Germany and set amazing new records. He flew the highest ever, and took the longest flight with a passenger. The Wright brothers opened doors that no one knew could be opened!
Louise Borden and Trish Marx document the extraordinary lives and achievements of two of our most celebrated American heroes, Wilbur and Orville Wright, from their humble beginnings to their later success and riches.

A look at how the Wright Brothers became the first celebrities of the twentieth century through their 1909 public flying exhibitions in New York City and Germany.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Six years after their first flight, the Wright Brothers had become celebrities, but most people had still never seen a flying machine. Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright by Louise Borden and Trish Marx, illus. by Peter Fiore, tells of their historic flying exhibitions in September 1909. Wilbur Wright demonstrated his flying skills in New York City during the citywide Hudson-Fulton Celebration, flying over the harbor, around the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River to Grant's Tomb. Meanwhile, in Germany, 200,000 people gathered to watch as Orville Wright looped and turned gracefully in one exhibition, took the crown prince Friedrich with him as a passenger in another and flew more than 1,500 feet high, setting a record. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Don't mistake this book for a biography of Orville and Wilbur Wright. It's not - although the brief introduction and the epilogue do cover the major events of the Wright brothers' lives. Instead this two-part book describes, in great detail, events that take place in September of 1909. The first half of the book, called Wilbur and the Red Canoe recounts Wilbur's flight over Manhattan during New York's celebration of its 300 years of history. People stood everywhere to witness this flight-a million cheering and waving people who marveled at what they saw. Wilbur marveled too at his birdseye view of the city below. The second half of the book - Higher, Orville, Higher-takes place in Europe where Orville soars high above the German capitol of Berlin. Two hundred thousand men, women and children have come to see this flight. "Amazing! it was simply amazing!" During his days in Germany, Orville set many records. He made the first night flight. He flew the longest flight ever with a passenger. He flew the highest ever, reaching almost sixteen hundred feet and breaking the record he had set just days before. A unique portrait of two American heroes whose high flying adventures are illustrated with detailed watercolors of the people and places of the time. At the end of the book, readers will find aviation time line and maps of Manhattan (and its monuments) and of Europe. A perfect choice for any young readers fascinated with flight. 2003, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster, Ages 7 to 10.
— Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-At last, a new twist on the aviators' story-one that recognizes them as "the first celebrities of the 20th century." It took a few years after their historic first flight for the brothers to achieve renown, but by 1909, when the events in this book take place, they were indeed acclaimed and invited to give public exhibitions. The events of 1903 are summarized in the authors' introduction, but here they take readers even higher, touching the sky above New York Harbor and Berlin's Templehof Field. Both brothers had been invited to participate in New York City's 300th-anniversary celebration named in honor of explorer Henry Hudson and inventor Robert Fulton. Orville had already committed to a contract in Europe so Wilbur packed his bags and his flyer and headed for New York with his mechanic. These two events, marking one of the few times the almost inseparable brothers were apart, are uniquely re-created here. Fiore's detailed watercolors dramatically and accurately record the two venues. The narrative, too, is laced with engaging facts that are successfully married to the pictures. The engaging presentation ends with a short epilogue that completes the Wrights' story, an aviation time line, and two 1909 maps-one of Manhattan island with highlighted monuments, one of Europe.-Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another unusual approach to the celebration of the Wright brothers' achievement, this one focuses on their historic flights in 1909 in New York City and Germany. Written in free verse, the first half recounts how Wilbur performed spectacular flying demonstrations for New York City's Hudson-Fulton Celebration: flying over New York Harbor, looping the Statue of Liberty, and traveling up the Hudson River past Grant's Tomb. Though most New Yorkers had never seen a flying machine, everyone had heard of the Wright brothers, and they were thrilled. Meanwhile, Orville was setting new records in Germany, flying the highest ever and making the longest flight with a passenger (the Crown Prince). Watercolor illustrations add dimension to this unique recognition of two American heroes. An epilogue, maps of Manhattan and Europe, and an aviation time line complete the research. While the format looks like an early reader, the length and language make this more appropriate for middle readers. (Nonfiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689848766
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 8/5/2003
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 10.31 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Borden graduated from Denison University with a degree in history. She taught first graders and preschoolers and later was a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to writing children’s books, she also speaks regularly to young students about the writing process. Her books include Good Luck, Mrs. K!, which won the Christopher Medal, and The A+ Custodian. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and you can visit her at LouiseBorden.com.

Trish Marx is the author of several award-winning books for children, including Touching the Sky: The Flying Adventures of Wilbur and Orville Wright, co-written with Louise Borden, a winner of the Association of Booksellers for Children Choices Award and a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; Everglades Forever: Restoring America's Great Wetland, a selection on the 2004 Book Links Favorites List; and Reaching for the Sun: Kids in Cuba, the recipient of the 2003 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. She lives with her family in New York City.

Peter M. Fiore has illustrated many books for children, including Touching the Sky by Louise Borden and Henry David's House, edited by Steven Schnur. Mr. Fiore has been interested in art since he was a young boy, and in addition to his book work, Mr. Fiore is well known as a fine artist. Mr. Fiore has received many awards and citations for his editorial illustration, including a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators.
Mr. Fiore lives along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania with his family.

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