cover image BRAVE HARRIET: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel

BRAVE HARRIET: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel

Marissa Moss, , illus. by C.F. Payne. . Harcourt/Silver Whistle, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202380-5

The creators of True Heart once again laud a historical heroine with gentle restraint. Here they give pilot Harriet Quimby just the right note of quiet confidence: "I hadn't grown up wishing to be a pilot, because there were no planes when I was a girl, but once I saw one, I knew where I belonged—there, at the controls, with blue sky all around me." Harriet wins her license from a skeptical board ("No woman has ever received a license to fly," a licensing official says), works as a barnstormer, then conceives the idea of crossing the English Channel. Her pilot friend Gustav Hamel tries to dissuade her, offering to fly for her in disguise; Harriet refuses. She completes her mission, but the sinking of the Titanic on the same day overshadows news of her success. "But it didn't matter, because I knew I had done it," she says. Payne's spreads resemble period photographs—stop-action shots of wood-framed airplanes taken from striking angles, a newsboy reading the headlines about the Titanic and Harriet looking wistfully across the Channel, her skirt billowing in the wind. Pair this with Julie Cummins's Tomboy of the Air (Children's Forecasts, July 2) for a complete picture of the first women pilots. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)