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Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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Smith tells Sophie’s inspiring story with a buoyant sense of wonder, fitting for a woman who was happiest in the air. Her accomplishments and passion for flight are brought beautifully to life by Tavares’ soft watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations... Sophie’s bravery and commitment to following her heart makes this an uplifting biography that proves the sky’s the limit when pursuing one’s dreams.
—Booklist (starred review)
Smith's prose—rich, poetic, and strong on active verbs—is a fine match for Tavares' gorgeous ink-and-watercolor illustrations...A beautifully told story of a young woman with lofty aspirations.
This amazing tale of the first female pilot is illustrated in ink and watercolor, with the changing sky becoming a character itself. A story that needs to be shared. Pair this with Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger’s Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman to demonstrate that girls can reach their dreams.
—School Library Journal
Writing with dry humor and keen attention to detail, Smith (Small Wonders) recounts the story of Sophie Blanchard...Smith and Tavares emphasize Sophie’s determination to achieve her dreams.
About the Author
Matthew Clark Smith has a master’s degree in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lives in Jackson, Mississippi.
Matt Tavares has written and illustrated many books for children, including Crossing Niagara, Zachary's Ball, Oliver's Game, Mudball, Henry Aaron's Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, Becoming Babe Ruth, and Growing Up Pedro. He is also the illustrator of Alicia Potter’s Jubilee!, Doreen Rappaport’s Lady Liberty, and Kristin Kladstrup’s The Gingerbread Pirates. He lives in Ogunquit, Maine.
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Top Customer Reviews
Smith offers exactly the right amount of detail in this picture book. The dangers of ballooning are mentioned but not dwelled upon, just like the death of Jean-Pierre. Sophie’s own death in a balloon is only mentioned in the Author’s Note which also speaks to how little is actually known about her despite her accomplishments. Her childhood, in particular, is unknown and Smith created some of the details himself. Throughout the book, it is the wonder of human flight that is the focus and that unites Sophie’s adult life with her childhood dreams.
Tavares has illustrated this picture book with period details that capture the balloons and the fragility of the baskets. In other illustrations, he captures the sky and the expanse that Sophie is flying into. Two illustrations mirror one another with darker skies as Sophie dreams as a girl of flying and when she returns to flight after her husband’s death.
An important picture book about a brave and groundbreaking woman who refused to be limited by the rest of the world. Appropriate for ages 6-8.