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Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl Hardcover – August, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-A story of an impressive flight pioneer, illustrated with informative black-and-white archival photographs. Stinson was raised in Mississippi and became interested in flying in 1911 when she was 19 years old. In a career spanning only seven years, she became the first woman to fly solo at night, the first pilot to perform skywriting, broke her competitor Ruth Law's distance record, established a flying school, and tirelessly promoted aviation around the world. An enthusiastic flyer and entrepreneur, Stinson met not only the challenges faced by women during that time, but also the incredible danger of early aviation. In telling this woman's story, Winegarten has included some fictionalized dialogue, an "invented friend," and quotes by Stinson as well as excerpts of some of her writings. A book that will no doubt inspire young people.

Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Eakin Press (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157168459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571684592
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,336,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A third-generation Texan, Debra's prowess as a poet began early when her poem, "God is Everywhere," appeared in the monthly edition of Dallas' Temple Emanu-El newsletter. This was actually the instance of her first recorded publication, and at the time the third-grader was pretty sure based on this early success that she would grow up to be an award-winning author. Her writing career was sidetracked a bit when she attended her big brother's band concert where the first chair flute player won the most medals. Debra wanted medals! She took up the flute and decided to be an award-winning flute player, so countries would pay her to perform, and that's how she would sponsor her love for international travel.

Known for being in the right place at the right time, Debra was the third girl to be bat mitzvahed at Temple Emanu-El, in 1973, when the Reform movement decided it was kosher for girls to become adults through this ritual. Fast-tracked through learning Hebrew, Debra's perfect pitch stood her in good stead as she memorized the trope from the cantor's cassette tape recording in record time. She did, in fact, earn many medals playing her flute and has a whole box of medals to show for it. Although countries have never offered to pay her to play her flute for them, she did one time play the theme song from "Exodus" on top of Mount Masada in Israel as the sun rose over the horizon.

Following her confirmation from a conservative shul, her love for Judaism took a back seat when the Rabbi she adored had an affair with the Sunday school teacher she also adored, and at the age of 16, she turned her back on shul, refusing to participate because of the hypocrisy involved. She returned to shul after a 29-year hiatus to say Kaddish for her beloved mother, Ruthe Winegarten. The daily minyan practice "took," and eight years later, she finds herself attending minyan almost daily. She came to adore her minyan mates so much, that she got inspired to start a Facebook site called "Mitzvah Minyanairres" where 6 days a week, she posts one of the 613 mitzvot and encourages the group to take action based on the daily mitzvah.

Along the way, she got a couple of degrees in sociology, one from Texas Woman's University, and a master's from The Ohio State University. She decided to study sociology because she's interested in almost everything and knew in that discipline, she'd never run out of things to learn. She lives in Austin, Texas with her heart partner, Cindy Huyser, whom she loves to the stars and possibly beyond, and a multitude of cats. Her mother once advised her as a writer "not to quit her day job." "But Mom," she protested, "I don't have a day job!" "Then get one," her mother said. So she did. Now she works for the Department of Astronomy at UT Austin, where she is the First Undersecretary of the American Astronomical Society. By night, she writes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Harris on April 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl" by Debra L. Winegarten is a refreshing, swift-moving biography of Katherine Stinson who, as a high-spirited young girl, was determined to fly. She was licensed as a pilot before World War I when aviation was in its infancy, planes were quite primitive and women generally were grounded as homemakers.
The daring, pioneering efforts and feats that brought Katherine Stinson success and international fame are wonderfully related by Debra Winegarten who entwines this life story with the early history of aviation and highlights it with excellent vintage photographs.
This is an inspiring, compelling, easy read for young people and adults, as well. To those who were unaware of her before, this book introduces Katherine Stinson and her close supportive family who eventually work together to establish an airfield and flight school, aircraft business in San Antonio. And perhaps most important is the message implicit in the courageous way Stinson meets each challenge in her career and aims for more: with earnest desire, dedication and education, ambitions - even some that seem far out now -- can be fully realized.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martha Duffer on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book!!! Debra Winegarten weaves this beautiful story of courage and originality with engaging simplicity. With the dearth of female heroes portrayed in the current literature accessible to adolescents, this book is both timely and necessary. The book will be inspiring to adults and young people alike as they are transported through this tale of bravery and boundary breaking depicting the story of a woman who dared to challenge convention in order to follow her dreams. You won't be able to put this book down as you are captured by this fascinating true story told in a readable, enjoyable, moving style. Read this book! Give it as gifts! Buy it for your daughters and sons! You will be very glad you did. I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS BOOK!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Hammond, Poet Laureate Emeritus on June 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Debra L. Winegarten's "Katherine Stinson: The Flying Schoolgirl," with its 33 full-page illustrations, is a monumental contribution to the literature of early American aviation.
It is the fascinating factual story of Katherine Stinson and her seven years of extensive record-setting flying history. This tiny woman of 100 pounds, born in Alabama, raised in Texas, and in later life nourished in New Mexico where she became an architect, barnstormed county and state fairs, but more importantly, barnstormed around the world, becoming a great heroine when flying exhibitions in China and Japan where she was received and highly decorated by Japan's Emperor.
She and her sister Marjorie even trained many American and Canadian airmen to go overseas and fly against the Germans in World War I, even though the U.S. Army refused to give her a commission to fly. Disgusted at being "put down" for being a woman, she went to France anyway and drove an ambulance.
Here is a book, beautifully written and factually filled, that will thrill the hearts of all women when they read and come to know the many successes of "Flying Katie" as she was called, in spite of the fact that she was a woman. And it will make men cringe to see that "Katie" outflew them all.
Ralph Hammond, D.Litt. Poet Laureate Emeritus State of Alabama
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By READSALOT on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Katherine Stinson's career was brief, but incredible. A tiny young woman from Mississippi turned the flying world on its ear, setting records, supporting her government, performing acrobatics in an open air cockpit, and showing an airplane-mad society that a woman could fly quite well. Debra L. Winegarten has done a terrific job pulling together photographs and stories about Katherine Stinson's flying career. Long before Amelia Earhart, Katherine Stinson overcame incredible odds and flew birdlike into history. Definitely an inspiring book!
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