Synopses & Reviews
2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People From the very first days of aviation, women were there. Katherine Wright, though not a pilot, helped her brothers Orville and Wilbur so much that some called her the “Third Wright Brother.” Pioneers such as Baroness Raymonde de Laroche of France ignored those who ignorantly claimed that only men possessed the physical strength or the mental capacity to pilot an airplane, and in 1910 became the first woman awarded a license to fly. A year later, Harriet Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States and in 1912 flew across the English Channel—another first.
Author Karen Bush Gibson profiles 26 women aviators who sought out and met challenges both in the sky and on the ground, where some still questioned their abilities. Read about barnstormers like Bessie Coleman and racers like Louise Thaden, who bested Amelia Earhart and Pancho Barnes to win the 1929 Women’s Air Derby, sometimes called the Powder Puff Derby. Learn about Jacqueline Cochran who, during World War II, organized and trained the Women Airforce Service Pilots—the WASPs—to serve their country by ferrying airplanes from factories to the front lines and pulling target planes during anti-aircraft artillery training. And see how female pilots today continue to achieve and serve while celebrating their love of flight.
“An informative and hopeful overview of underrecognized scientists and explorers in a male-dominated field.” —Publishers Weekly
“Valuable… an informative introductory overview of the many important contributions women have made to space exploration.” —Kirkus Reviews
"An important addition to womens-history collections." —School Library Journal
"[Gibson] incorporates thorough research and a strong feminist message into her accounts...This illuminating gathering of role models is also bolstered with sheaves of source notes and useful references to further resources." —Booklist
"With a plethora of information, Women in Space will be an asset to any library and will be useful for those choosing to learn about unsung heroes by combining both biographical and historical information in one handy volume." —VOYA
"Very highly recommended reading and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library collections." —The Midwest Book Review
"It will become an invaluable tool for those teaching or learning about Texas history.” —School Library Journal
When Valentina Tereshkova blasted off aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, she became the first woman to rocket into space. It would be 19 years before another woman got a chance—cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982—followed by American astronaut Sally Ride a year later. By breaking the stratospheric ceiling, these women forged a path for many female astronauts, cosmonauts, and mission specialists to follow.
Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station; and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; as well as astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, France, and more. Readers will also learn about the Mercury 13, American women selected by NASA in the late 1950s to train for spaceflight. Though they matched and sometimes surpassed their male counterparts in performance, they were ultimately denied the opportunity to head out to the launching pad. Their story, and the stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who followed them, demonstrate the vital role women have played in the quest for scientific understanding.
About the Author
Karen Bush Gibson is the author of three dozen books for young readers, including Native American History for Kids.