Brookline Public Schools approve a book about aviation

Good news and bad news for a friend’s 12-year-old…

Bad: he was sentenced to read a book by his teachers in the Brookline (Massachusetts) Public Schools.

Good: One of the choices was on an aviation theme. Maybe this won’t be a painful distraction from video games and learning about technology. Perhaps it will be Fate is the Hunter?

Reality: the assigned book, Fly Girl, turns out to be more about skin color than aviation.

From the Amazon page:

All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she’s in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940s Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASP-Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she’s willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one’s self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it’s not what you do but who you are that’s most important.


  • Bessie Coleman, a non-fictional pilot who identified as a black female

7 thoughts on “Brookline Public Schools approve a book about aviation

  1. Tell him: get used to it, and learn to read a lot on his own. If he’s a relatively mature, somewhat precocious 12 YO, not too easily scared, who wants to read a spellbinding, chilling true-life story, tell him to read “Trapped!: The Story of Floyd Collins.”

    “When Floyd Collins became trapped in a cave in southern Kentucky in early 1925, the sensationalism and hysteria of the rescue attempt generated America’s first true media spectacle, making Collins’s story one of the seminal events of the century. The crowds that gathered outside Sand Cave turned the rescue site into a carnival. Collins’s situation was front-page news throughout the country, hourly bulletins interrupted radio programs, and Congress recessed to hear the latest word. Trapped! is both a tense adventure and a brilliant historical recreation of the past.”

    I read it when I was 9, which was, in retrospect, perhaps a little too young to handle some of the emotions and situations in the book, which can be frightening for a young child. I couldn’t put it down, except when it freaked me out so much I *had* to put it down, and then found myself picking it right back up. He should be fine as long as he has someone to discuss it with if it scares him, and it has the benefit of having happened, which makes it even more compelling. I couldn’t believe what was happening to Collins and had to keep going back to the book to find out what happened next. He’ll never forget it, and it’s a great book to use as a starting point to discuss how media and technology have and haven’t changed over the past century.

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