cover image Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly

Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly

Martin W. Sandler. Bloomsbury, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0344-2

The latest nonfiction offering from National Book Award winner Sandler (1919 The Year That Changed America) invites readers to the Champagne Region’s Great Aviation Week, held outside Rheims, France, in August 1909. Introducing elements of aviation before the meet, and the role of the Wright Brothers in its early days, Sandler continues by describing the preparations and then each of the seven days of the event. Abundant historical photos introduce the pilots, their planes, and the elaborate facilities, which were comparable to those of a world’s fair. Sophisticated text and French terminology, some of which is untranslated, may make this a challenging read. But the firsthand accounts—including descriptions of competing aviators, their planes, and their performances, as well as the media reaction—will enthrall young aviation enthusiasts, introducing them to aspects of aviation history beyond Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Two-page sections highlight individual fliers, prizes, and other interesting topics such as dirigibles. Back matter includes synopses of the competing pilots’ lives, along with suggestions for further reading, places to visit, and a bibliography, making this a useful classroom and library resource. Ages 10–14. [em](July) [/em]