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You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Weatherford, Carole Boston, Weatherford, Jeffery Boston (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 1481449397     ISBN-13: 9781481449397
Publisher: Atheneum
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: July 2017
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Annotation: In this “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford “wields the power of poetry to tell [the] gripping historical story” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier during World War II.

I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying.

So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying!

From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II. In vibrant second-person poems, Carole Boston Weatherford teams up for the first time with her son, artist Jeffery Weatherford, in a powerful and inspiring book that allows readers to fly, too.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
World War, 1939-1945; Participation, African American; Juvenile poetry.
African American air pilots; History; Juvenile poetry.
World War, 1939-1945; Aerial operations, American; Juvenile poetry.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Historical | United States
- Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States
Dewey: 811/.6
LCCN: 2015012393
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 7.75" H x 5.50" W x 0.25" (0.26 lbs) 80 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 183113
Reading Level: 6.0   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 1.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall)
Thirty-two second-person poems and dramatic scratchboard illustrations bring to life the experiences of the pilots, bombardiers, maintenance workers, and navigators trained to fly and maintain combat aircraft at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute during World War II. Informative, evocative poems follow the Airmen from the early vision to the flyers' experiences at home and abroad, as they fought another war--against prejudice. Reading list, timeline, websites. Copyright 2016 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #4)
Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, as part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program to fly and maintain combat aircraft: "If Carver can make paint / from clay and plastics from soy, / then the school Booker T. founded / can surely make you a pilot." This flew in the face of prevailing racism and societal beliefs about the capacities of African American men, but the program succeeded, and black pilots flew missions over Sicily and North Africa. Weatherford's informative, evocative poems follow the Airmen from the early vision ("The sky's no limit if you've flown / on your own power in countless dreams") to the flyers' experiences at home and abroad, with poems about Joe Louis and Lena Horne reminding us that the Airmen were also fighting another war in this country—against prejudice. The concluding poem, "A Long Line," places the Tuskegee Airmen among "a long line of warriors," from ancient Egyptian pharaohs to Toussaint L'Ouverture, from the U.S. Colored Troops of the Civil War to the Harlem Hellfighters of World War I. And the Tuskegee Airmen, in turn, paved the way for the full integration of the military in 1948. Jeffery Boston Weatherford's dramatic black-and-white scratchboard illustrations will draw in browsers, and an author's note, timeline, and further resources are appended. dean schneider

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2016 March #1)

Weatherford (Voice of Freedom) again wields the power of poetry to tell a gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations by her son, making a notable debut. Gentle yet stirring, Weatherford's 40-plus free-verse poems create a composite portrait of the first African-American military pilots, trained at the Tuskegee Institute before fighting on the front lines in WWII, and the rampant racial prejudice that these military heroes battled throughout the war. Addressing the pilots collectively as "you," the present-tense narrative has a palpable sense of immediacy, urgency, and encouragement: "Finally, your moment./ After eight hours of lessons,/ it's your turn to fly solo,/ to conquer a new world./ You steer as if you and the plane are one./ You have never felt freer./ Never." Weatherford also offers appreciative nods to the first black women allowed to serve in the Army Nurse Corps, as well as black and white civilians and officers who decried the hypocrisy inherent in a soldier risking his life to defend a country "that doesn't respect his rights." A timeline and other resources wrap up this absorbing book. Ages 9–12. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 March)

Gr 5 Up—This distinctive collection of verses lets readers journey with the African American men who dreamed of flying despite racist attitudes. Through 33 poems, readers will travel beside these determined men as they become pilots and fight not only the Nazis, but prejudice as well. For those who have never studied this time period, this book sheds light on the Tuskegee Airmen through stories filled with authentic voices and hard truths. For those who already know of the Airmen's accomplishments, the book offers a more personal connection to the men and their ideas and feelings through poems such as "Operation Prove Them Wrong" and "No Hero's Welcome," which demonstrate that despite their proven skill and heroism, the aviators were still denied acceptance and respect. Scratchboard illustrations by the author's son bring the subject to life. VERDICT A unique and very readable addition to supplement black history and World War II collections.—Laura Fields Eason, Parker Bennett Curry Elementary School, Bowling Green, KY

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2016 February)

Gr 5 Up—This distinctive collection of verses lets readers journey with the African American men who dreamed of flying despite racist attitudes. Through 33 poems, readers will travel beside these determined men as they become pilots and fight not only the Nazis, but prejudice as well. For those who have never studied this time period, this book sheds light on the Tuskegee Airmen through stories filled with authentic voices and hard truths. For those who already know of the Airmen's accomplishments, the book offers a more personal connection to the men and their ideas and feelings through poems such as "Operation Prove Them Wrong" and "No Hero's Welcome," which demonstrate that despite their proven skill and heroism, the aviators were still denied acceptance and respect. Scratchboard illustrations by the author's son bring the subject to life. VERDICT A unique and very readable addition to supplement black history and World War II collections.—Laura Fields Eason, Parker Bennett Curry Elementary School, Bowling Green, KY

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
 
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