Wind Flyers [NOOK Book]

Overview

All he ever wanted to do was fly.

Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Angela Johnson and New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long invite readers to ponder a band of undercelebrated World War II heroes -- the Tuskegee Airmen. With fleeting prose and transcendent imagery, this book by the masterful author/artist duo reveals how a boy's love of flight takes him on a journey from the dusty dirt roads of Alabama to the ...
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Overview

All he ever wanted to do was fly.

Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Angela Johnson and New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long invite readers to ponder a band of undercelebrated World War II heroes -- the Tuskegee Airmen. With fleeting prose and transcendent imagery, this book by the masterful author/artist duo reveals how a boy's love of flight takes him on a journey from the dusty dirt roads of Alabama to the war-torn skies of Europe and into the hearts of those who are only now beginning to understand the part these brave souls played in the history of America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The team behind I Dream of Trains masterfully presents a story of the Tuskegee Airmen, as light and graceful as the air in which they navigated their planes. A boy recounts his great-great-uncle's experience as one of these unsung heroes. Long's humorous early paintings show the young would-be pilot jumping from a hayloft, conveying his early love of heights and flight. Likening the very idea of flying to Heaven ("with clouds, like soft blankets, saying, `Come on in, get warm. Stay awhile and be a wind flyer too' "), Uncle makes flying seem so inviting to the boy, that readers will likely wish to be just like Uncle, too. When, as a Tuskegee Airman, Uncle finally puts his own dream into motion and his plane takes off for the first time, readers may well want to stand up and cheer. The occasion is all the more celebratory because of how rare it was for African-Americans to get an opportunity like this, as Johnson's poetic text subtly conveys: "Air Force didn't want us at first," Uncle says. (A closing author's note explains the founding and achievements of the airmen trained in Tuskegee, Ala.) Long's illustration of this momentous occasion features brushstrokes so vivid, they practically launch Uncle's plane right off the page. Both author and artist guard a careful balance between nostalgia and the timelessness of childhood aspirations. Together, they turn a quiet moment in history into a story that will send spirits soaring. Ages 5-9. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Michelle H. Martin
Told through the eyes of the great-great-nephew of a Tuskegee Airman, this story reveals how an early passion for flying propelled one young man into a successful career in the air. When the narrator's great-great-uncle was little, he jumped off of a chicken coop and later off of a barn because he loved the feeling of flying. At eleven, he paid seventy-five cents for a ride with a flying barnstormer and cried when they had to come down "because then he knew what it was like to go into the wind, against the wind, beyond the wind." As an adult, Uncle joined the 332nd Fighter Group, which was formed in 1942 because of pressure from the NAACP and other groups on the U.S. Government to enable African American Army Air Force pilots to fly and fight. Uncle's squadron, which fought in WWII, gained acclaim for being "the only escort group that never lost a single bomber to enemy fire." This beautifully illustrated picture book makes an important piece of American and family history interesting and accessible for young readers. Loren Long, who recently re-illustrated Watty Piper's The Little Engine that Could, brings the same sense of whimsy and a similar palette of striking colors to this title as to the earlier one, making the story both informative and warmly inviting. This is a picture book that should be in every library that caters to kids.
School Library Journal

Gr 2–4
A child recounts his great-great uncle's lifelong passion for flying-which began at age five with a leap from the roof of a chicken coop and climaxed with wartime flights as one of the Tuskegee Airmen. The man is depicted as a slender figure with distant eyes contemplating the wild blue yonder or, later on, posing with massive-looking, antique aircraft. The slightly misty look of Long's illustrations artfully evokes that sense of remembered times and matches the lyrical tone of Johnson's brief, poetic monologue. "He cried when they landed/because then he knew/what it was like to go/into the wind,/against the wind,/beyond the wind." A final view of the child and his uncle flying off into the "magical wind" in an oversize biplane caps this soaring double tribute to both the Second World War's still-underappreciated African-American pilots and to the profound longing to fly that impelled them.
—John PetersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
In spare, lyrical prose and vibrant acrylic paintings, three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Johnson and acclaimed illustrator Long introduce readers to the WWII Tuskegee airmen, the African-American squadron that "distinguished themselves as the only escort group that never lost a single bomber to enemy fire." Johnson's young narrator tells the story of his great-great-uncle who so loved to fly that with "his arms flapping, he jumped off a chicken coop when he was five," went up with a barnstormer when he was 11 and went on to become a Tuskegee wind flyer in the war. This will no doubt inspire important conversations about history and race, but the heart of the piece has to do with the universal desire to follow our passions, overcome obstacles and realize our dreams. Nothing makes this clearer than Long's illustrations, which draw readers in, making them feel as though they too are gazing up into the perfect blue of the sky. Just as surely as the narrator and his uncle find magic in the clouds and the wind, readers will find plenty to marvel at in the pages of this compelling offering. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
From the Publisher
"This is beautiful! A perfect way to educate young people and make them aware of the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen. This book makes me even prouder that my dad was a member of this prestigious group." -- Robin Roberts, anchor, ABC News, Good Morning America
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781481409889
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,076,759
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at AJohnsonAuthor.com.
Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could; Madonna’s second picture book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; and the Barnstormers series. He also illustrated Frank McCourt’s Angela and the Baby Jesus and is part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. Loren’s work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Westchester, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Up! Up! And Away!

    This is a wonderful picture book for young readers. Beautiful color illustrations with plenty of detail are sure to capture the young reader's attention and hold their fascination. Bright, vivid, and lively colors grab their attention from the first page. Easy-to-read and understand sentences make this a delight to read and it is an excellent choice for reading out loud at story time. This is a good first book to introduce readers to the Tuskegee airmen of the 332nd. The words and illustrations should inspire and encourage the reader to try flying. A favorable review for Wind Flyers: a very good book, educational and informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2008

    A reviewer

    WIND FLYERS was love at first read. Flying has been a part of my life for the last 40 years. I am married to a retired Army pilot who wanted to be in the air since he was two years old and is flying to this day. When I read WIND FLYERS at my school's book fair it was like seeing through my husband's eyes. It mirrored his absolute love of being in the air. This would be a joy to share with any child. I am giving it to my husband who still has the child-like fascination with flying that shines through so beautifully in WIND FLYERS.

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