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Contributor(s): Smith, Sherri L.

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ISBN: 0142417254     ISBN-13: 9780142417256
Publisher: Speak
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: September 2010

Annotation: During World War II, a light-skinned African American girl "passes" for white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
World War, 1939-1945; Participation, Female; Juvenile fiction.
World War, 1939-1945; Participation, Female; Fiction.
Air pilots; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2010024280
Lexile Measure: 680
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.25" H x 5.50" W x 0.75" (0.60 lbs) 278 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 128024
Reading Level: 4.3   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 11.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q46218
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 18.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>

Sherri L. Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent most of her childhood reading books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she has worked in movies, animation, comic books and construction. Sherri’s first book, Lucy the Giant, was an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults in 2003. The Dutch translation, Lucy XXL (Gottmer, 2005), was awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2005 De Gouden Zoen, or Golden Kiss, Awards for Children’s Literature in the Netherlands. Sherri’s novel, Sparrow, was chosen as a National Council for the Social Studies/Children’s Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People and is also a 2009 Louisiana Young Readers Choice Award Nominee. Upon the release of Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet in February 2008, Sherri was featured as a spotlight author for The Brown Bookshelf's Black History Month celebration, 28 Days Later. Flygirl, an historical YA novel set during World War II, is her fourth novel.

“Cloudberries,” Ladybug Magazine (2001)

Lucy the Giant (2002)

Various stories, Bart Simpson Comics (2002)

Sparrow (2006)

Hot Sour, Salty, Sweet (2008)

Flygirl (January 2009)

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #3)
Ida Mae wants only to fly, an improbable proposition for a black girl in 1940s small-town Louisiana. But the outbreak of war and Ida Mae's own nerve connive to get her into the air: "Light skin and good hair could put me in a military plane." Counterfeiting a pilot's license and passing herself off as white, Ida Mae joins the Women's Airforce Service Pilots program, an auxiliary of the Air Force designed to free up male pilots for combat duty. Although forthright about the racism Ida Mae faces and the ethical complexities of pretending to be something one is not, this novel is at heart an old-fashioned career story, where a gal pursues the job-and man-of her dreams. It's good, rousing period fiction with a determined heroine and plucky supporting cast of sister WASPs. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2008 December #2)

Smith (Lucy the Giant) brings a gripping perspective to bear upon a lesser-known piece of America's past: during WWII, the government recruited women pilots to fly non-combat missions, e.g., ferrying planes. Driven by a desire to fly and wanting to help her enlisted brother, Ida Mae decides to pass as white so she can join the program. The author has an expert grasp on her subject, and readers will learn plenty about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, from their impractical uniforms to the dangerous missions they flew without reward. Ida Mae's unique point of view gives her special insight into the often poor treatment of women: when a pilot friend gets frustrated by a stunt they are asked to perform, Ida realizes, "Lily's just finding out what I've been living with my whole life. She's never known what it was like to be hobbled by somebody else's rules." Key scenes demonstrate how much Ida has sacrificed by passing, as when her much darker mother visits her on Christmas and, la Imitation of Life, poses as the family housekeeper. Although this book feels constructed to educate, readers will find the lesson well crafted. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)

[Page 59]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2009 February)

Gr 6–10—Readers first meet 18-year-old Ida Mae Jones, a Louisiana girl who longs to be a pilot, in December 1941, on the eve of America's entrance into World War II. She is pretty and smart, but she has two huge strikes against her. She is black in an America where racism holds sway, and a competent pilot in an America in which she is denied her license because she is a woman. Smith explores these two significant topics and does a wonderful job of melding the two themes in one novel. Ida Mae is a likable character who is torn by the need to pass for white and fake a license in order to fulfill her dream. Readers learn a great deal about what it must have been like to be African American in the South during this period, as well as about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASP, a civilian group that performed jobs that freed male pilots for other things. The women's close friendships and the danger, excitement, and tragedy of their experience create a thrilling, but little-known story that begs to be told. The book is at once informative and entertaining. In the end, readers are left to wonder what Ida Mae Jones will do with the rest of her life.—Carol Jones Collins, Columbia High School, Maplewood, NJ

[Page 110]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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