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Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman Perfect Paperback – January 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written for an older audience than aimed for in either Lynn Joseph's Fly, Bessie, Fly or Reeve Lindbergh's Nobody Owns the Sky!: The Story of 'Brave Bessie' Coleman, this informative and insightful picture-book biography of the African-American aviator merits attention. Borden and Kroeger, co-authors of Paperboy, stress the adversities of Bessie Coleman's childhood in rural Texas at the turn of the 20th century and emphasize her extraordinary perseverance. As a girl, Bessie struggles to get an education, even when she must pick cotton instead of attending school; later, at 18, Bessie enrolls in "catch-up classes" and is placed in sixth grade at a private college, but her money runs out after only one term. Undefeated in her determination to become "somebody," Bessie eventually moves to Chicago in 1915 and, later, learns of French women who piloted planes during WWI. From that point on, Bessie resolves to fly; when no American pilots agree to teach her, she saves up money and enrolls at a school in France, becoming the first African-American to earn a pilot's license. At once breezy and grounded, the rhythmic text is arranged in short, verse-like lines, which should encourage reluctant readers to climb on board. Flavin's (Pushing Up the Sky) pebbly gouaches are atmospheric if a bit stiff, capitalizing on Borden and Kroeger's optimism. A flight well worth taking. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 4-The authors' flair for imparting history soars in this biography of the first African American to earn a pilot's license. From her difficult childhood spent picking cotton in Texas to her grand achievements in aviation, Coleman's personality shines through. The warm illustrations done in gouache on colored paper mix exciting images of the aviator flying her plane with quieter glimpses of her interacting with friends and family members. The straightforward sentence structure keeps the action moving and will capture reluctant readers. Coleman's affinity for children will captivate youngsters, who will freely mourn the early demise of the "trŠs chic! aviatrix" who often told others, "You can be somebody, too." A first-rate follow-up to Borden's Good-Bye, Charles Lindbergh (McElderry, 1998).-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Perfect Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689864620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689864629
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born (Oct 30,1949) and raised in Cincinnati, I have lived in Ohio my entire life except for two years in Massachusetts right after I was married. Growing up in an old house on a steep street, I attended a small elementary school called Lotspeich. There, all the marvelous shelves of books in the library shaped me into a lifelong reader. So it is a thrill for me to know that some of my books are being read by children in other libraries all over the country.

Before I became a full-time writer and speaker, I taught preschoolers and first graders and was even a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati.

Today, it is hard for me to separate my writing from the way I live my life. My own family, personal experiences, and friendships, as well as a love of history and travel, have rich and lasting connections to the books I write. The first impulse to write a book is always triggered by something that has touched me indelibly.

In addition to my writing, my work in schools allows me to travel the incredible variety of landscape in Ohio, and meet the heart of its people. I have spoken in over 400 schools across the country, but mostly in Ohio. Because of this, I now have lifelong friends in communities from mighty Cleveland to small-town Greenville.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A little light in the loafers is this story of Bessie Coleman. Though a worthy subject and a fascinating tale, this particular biography of the great Bessie C. is an awkwardly formal affair. Containing no source notes aside from a brief authorial thank you at the start of the book, most of the facts surrounding the life and times of Bessie Coleman are credited to Marion Coleman, Bessie's niece. Reading through this tale, I could only conclude that it was a pity that such a dry product could come from this powerful woman's life.
Bessie Coleman was a sharecropper's daughter in Waxahachie, Texas. Having grown up poor, Ms. Coleman moved to Chicago, Illinois to make a name for herself. After years of hard work, Bessie determined that the only job she wanted was to become an aviatrix. Scrimping and saving allowed Bessie to travel to France, where she was able to earn her pilot's license. Throughout the years Bessie would wow American audiences everywhere with her tricks and derring-do. In the end, Bessie died in a plane crash and was buried in Chicago once more. Her life allowed her to become the first African-American to earn a pilot's license. Not the first black woman but the first black person ever! Fairly impressive stuff.
There's a kind of disconnect between the words in this book and the images on its pages. Both the words and the illustrations are rather stiff and formal. Each illustration is contained neatly within its own little space and every narrative sequence is typed in nice little sections. It's funny that I felt the book to be so blah. There's no one moment in the story where I could say to myself, "Now THAT is why I find this telling so dull!".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on May 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Imagine walking four miles to school and four miles home from school. That's what Bessie Coleman did a hundred years ago. She wanted to be somebody-like Harriet Tubman and Bookier T. Washington. She knew that with schooling she could be. She worked hard, picking cotton, walking miles to collect laundry, and learning her numbers. When she was twenty-three, she moved to Chicago. There she became a manicurist. She read the newspaper, and listened when customers told tales about French lady pilots in World War I. She wanted to be a lady pilot. She boldly went to Publisher Robert Abbot who told her to earn some money and learn French. He would help her find a flying school. In 1920, she went to France,learned to fly, and became the first African American to fly. When she became a stunt pilot she spread her message, "You can be somebody. You can fly high, just like me." This colorful, beautiful, simply written book shows how Bessie Coleman was an inspiration. Her determination and hard work made her dreams come true! Read and find out the sad ending to this courageous woman's story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
fly high! is a story of a woman that name is Bessie Coleman who meets a guy that tells her to go to France to learn how to fly.She traveled all over the world , until one day she crashed in California.She was in the hospital for three long months,and was not able to fly for a year.She didn`t give up on flying again.one day she was ready to fly again.A texas mechanic,William Wills,joined her.Bessie didn`t put on her seatbelt,and the plane went out of control.Bessie fell from the plane.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Andersen on September 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is wonderfu. It tells the story of Bessie Coleman, a woman of color,who pursued her dream of flying, even at a time when women in our country weren't permitted in flight schools.

My students are always very interested when I read it to them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Wilks on March 10, 2015
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Good detailed book. I had to edit while reading to my daughter's kindergarten class. But they loved the story and stayed engaged for the entire reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MEG in CDA on March 9, 2015
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Daughter loves this book. I have been on a search for good books about strong women for my 8-year old daughter. This did not disappoint.
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