cover image The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar

The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar

Margarita Engle, illus. by Sara Palacios. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4502-3

Writing in upbeat, intermittently rhyming verse, Engle tells the true story of Aída de Acosta, an American woman of Cuban and Spanish descent who piloted an early flying machine. While visiting Paris as a teenager, Acosta is awestruck by eccentric inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont’s motorized aircrafts and is determined to pilot one. Despite objections—“Girls, they hollered, should only be allowed/ to learn how to cook, sew, and clean,/ but girls, they bellowed, should never/ be taught how to fly/ huge machines”—Acosta successfully flies a dirigible, landing in a polo field near Paris. Palacios’s mixed-media artwork features ruby and sapphire jewel tones, including in flocks of red birds that accompany Acosta’s journey. Engle delivers a sweetly uplifting story about a girl who “only needed courage and a chance to try.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Mar.)