Monday, October 25, 2010

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

All Ida Mae wants to do is fly. She's secretly saving money to obtain her pilot's license. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the whole country is thrown into turmoil. The formation of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) presents Ida Mae with an opportunity to help her country and support her brother who is overseas fighting. However, she has two problems: She's doesn't have a pilot's license and she's African American.. The United States Armed Forces are still segregated. WASP doesn't accept black women. Luckily, Ida's skin is light enough to pass for white. In doing so, she endangers herself and her family. She is on the way to achieving her dream, but at what cost?

What I thought: Wow! What an interesting books. Most of the WWII books I've read have dealt with the home front not the actual fighting. Ida Mae's journey was truly perilous and thus an engaging read. I wonder if any one guessed that Ida was passing. She certainly proved herself as a pilot regardless of her race. Ida Mae's story makes me want to know more about the service women of WWII. I know Sherri Smith is probably done with Ida as a character, but I would love to see how she reconciles her two identities--a WASP and a black girl who wants to fly like her daddy. Though the story is fictional, it is thoroughly researched and undoubtedly historically accurate so history teachers even on the college level would find a wealth of material to discuss.

(Putnam, 2009)

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