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Rolling Readers Space Coast, Inc. Commentary:

Schools are out for the summer! Many of us find ourselves travelling to visit relatives and friends, or simply going out of town to have some fun time away together. Some pack up the car, camper or RV, others hop on a train, and still, many get on a plane – considered the most safe and efficient means of transportation between two points. Airplane travel is possible partly due to the ingenuity of the Wright brothers, who successfully flew the first powered and controlled flight of an airplane over 100 years ago in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. With airplanes as our topic, we chose My Brothers’ Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville and Me – written by Jane Yolen, and illustrated by Jim Burke as our new S.T.E.M. book to highlight. This book tells the story of the Wright brothers’ work to invent the first mechanically controlled airplane from the point of view of their sister, Katherine. Well-researched, it is easily read independently by older children (Grades 3-5) and an interesting book to read aloud in lower grades.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

A Review from School Library Journal

Gr1 to Gr4

“There were the Wright brothers. In point of fact, there were two of them older than the famous pair, and one in between who died along with his twin sister in infancy. And there was a little sister, the last child in the family, Katharine, born three years after Orville. It is from her perspective that Yolen writes, and she includes the important facts and events of the brothers’ achievement in flight along with incidentals that provide a window into Wright family life. The text is arranged vertically on one page, suggestive of free verse in its irregular rhythms, and faces an illustration. In an author’s note, Yolen credits several biographers along with numerous letters and diary entries for documentation of incidents and conversations. Katharine Wright seems a little like a child in voice, although she was 29 years old in 1903, the year of the historic flight. Her words here can only be adult reminiscences. Burke’s paintings are chock-full of realistic and well-researched detail. The newspaper masthead, “West Side News,” is clearly visible in the scene showing the Wrights’ printing business. And, although there is no mention of the family love of music in the text, Orv’s mandolin is propped up on a couch near books whose spines contain the names Lilienthal and Chanute (contemporary flight engineers and experimenters). This book would be useful in combination with straightforward accounts to flesh out a more complete and convincing picture of these personalities. In this centennial year, the voice of another Wright sibling is welcome.”

Harriett Fargnoli, Great Neck Library, NY  (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. )

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Additional books about airplanes and flying:

Summary: 

“Zoro is a little boy in 17th-century Italy, long before airplanes flew in the sky. But Zoro is also an apprentice to the artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci–and Leonardo is experimenting with a revolutionary flying machine! This is a title in Barron’s Anholt’s Artists Books for Children series, in which author and illustrator Laurence Anholt recalls memorable and sometimes amusing moments when the lives of the artists were touched by children. Anholt’s fine illustrations appear on every page and include reproductions of works by the artists.” –Grade 1-4–

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

 Click here to locate this book

Summary:  

“Take flight with Pilot Small’s classic aerial adventure—now available as a board book! Tag along as Pilot Small takes his little red airplane up, up, up for a joyride! Newly simplified text, paired with Lois Lenski’s bright and charming art, makes an irresistible choice for youngsters already reaching for the sky!”

– Ages 2-5 –

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

Click here to locate this book

 


 

Summary:  

“Orville and Wilbur Wright are only bicycle mechanics in Dayton, Ohio, but they have a dream. They plan to fly not in a balloon or a glider, but in an airplane made of wood and cloth, powered by its own engine. Most people don’t believe this is possible; do you?” –Grade 3-7–

Brevard County Public Library link for this book:

 Click here to locate this book