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Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight

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Based on Karyn Parson's critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot's license. Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane . . . Before she performed in death-defying flying shows that would earn her fame as "Queen Bess" . . . Before she traveled the country speaki Based on Karyn Parson's critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot's license. Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane . . . Before she performed in death-defying flying shows that would earn her fame as "Queen Bess" . . . Before she traveled the country speaking out against discrimination, Bessie was a little girl with a big imagination that took her to the sky, through the clouds, and past the birds. Knocking down barriers one by one, Bessie endured racism and grueling training to become the first black female pilot and an inspiration to Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, and many more influential people of color for years to come. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times; min-height: 16.0px}


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Based on Karyn Parson's critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot's license. Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane . . . Before she performed in death-defying flying shows that would earn her fame as "Queen Bess" . . . Before she traveled the country speaki Based on Karyn Parson's critically acclaimed Sweet Blackberry video series comes the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American female to earn her pilot's license. Before Bessie Coleman blazed a high trail with her plane . . . Before she performed in death-defying flying shows that would earn her fame as "Queen Bess" . . . Before she traveled the country speaking out against discrimination, Bessie was a little girl with a big imagination that took her to the sky, through the clouds, and past the birds. Knocking down barriers one by one, Bessie endured racism and grueling training to become the first black female pilot and an inspiration to Mae Jemison, Josephine Baker, and many more influential people of color for years to come. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Times; min-height: 16.0px}

30 review for Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman's Dreams Took Flight

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    This biography is written in lively, crisp rhyme and reveals a young black woman whose dream of flying would not be stopped. The text is brief but concise and moves through Bessie’s life with each page turn. Read and compare this book with the earlier Nikki Grimes book: Talkin’ About Bessie, in which various individuals who played roles in Bessie’s life reflect in their open voices (via Grimes’s interpretation) about the way in which Bessie does, indeed, our attention and our conversations.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Coleman is another Black icon that I've never heard of, and I'm glad that her story is being told here! Some of the rhymes were way off, but it didn't detract too much for me. Coleman is another Black icon that I've never heard of, and I'm glad that her story is being told here! Some of the rhymes were way off, but it didn't detract too much for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Annamarie Carlson (she, her)

    A fun picture book biography of Bessie Coleman, the first black female pilot. The rhymes made this a bit hard for me--some were forced while others seemed to be missing entirely (come/fun, license/friends).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Relying on rhyming lines and repetitive phrases such as "Black bird. Black girl" for visual effects, this picture book highlights the inspiring story of Bessie Coleman. Growing up in rural Texas, Bessie dreamed of doing something special although she was uncertain about what that might be. Eventually moving to Chicago to live with her brother, she is thrilled by his stories of pilots from when he was in the military and realizes she's found what she wants to do. When no on in the United States i Relying on rhyming lines and repetitive phrases such as "Black bird. Black girl" for visual effects, this picture book highlights the inspiring story of Bessie Coleman. Growing up in rural Texas, Bessie dreamed of doing something special although she was uncertain about what that might be. Eventually moving to Chicago to live with her brother, she is thrilled by his stories of pilots from when he was in the military and realizes she's found what she wants to do. When no on in the United States is willing to teach her to fly because she's a girl and Black, she heads to France. There, she studies, trains, and is granted a pilot's license in 1921, the first African American woman to do so. She returns home to much acclaim and begins doing stunt flying. The text mentions that she insisted that promoters allow both whites and Blacks to attend, but it doesn't discuss how her career ended. Back matter includes photos of Bessie as well as a list of important women groundbreakers in the world of flight. Acrylic and gouache illustrations composed digitally accompany the text. While I'm pleased to see Bessie Coleman get her just due in this picture book, some of the rhymes seemed awkward, and the story jumps from point to point rather abruptly. A good addition to a collection devoted to civil rights and groundbreakers, this picture book could join others focused on Bessie, including Talkin' about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes (my personal favorite), Fly High: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Borden and Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of Brave Bessie Coleman by Reeve Lindbergh. It's clear that this was one determined woman who refused to let others' expectations hold her back.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dina

    A Texas-sized hero--Bessie Coleman! Beautiful art throughout the book, with the addition of being a fairly unknown historical figure and back matter containing pictures and a timeline of trailblazing women in flight. Several items I expected to see--first she was from Texas (I had to hunt to find this information) and her tragic death. Overall, a good book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Sachlis

    An inspiring book about dreams, opportunities and the courage to follow both. Bessie Coleman took advantage of opportunities and worked hard to achieve her dream. This is a good choice for early readers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I was so excited to read this biography about the amazing aviator Bessie Coleman and while I loved the illustrations, I found the rhyming text to be rather painful. It seemed really forced and downright awkward in places.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Miss Sarah

    An elementary level picture book biography of Bessie Coleman the first African American to get a pilot's license in the early 1900's. moving story and I loved the refrain throughout the book. An elementary level picture book biography of Bessie Coleman the first African American to get a pilot's license in the early 1900's. moving story and I loved the refrain throughout the book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Spirited, rhyming biography of an important person in both Black and Women's History that you may not be aware of. I loved the historical photos at the book's conclusion. Spirited, rhyming biography of an important person in both Black and Women's History that you may not be aware of. I loved the historical photos at the book's conclusion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    bet mercer

    (more 3.5 stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This picture book in rhyming verse introduces pioneering female pilot Bessie Coleman, shining a much-needed light on this trailblazer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maria Caplin

    Love the repetition of stanza verse.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    Great subject, but not well-written. Perhaps writing in rhyme is more difficult than one might think.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison Volz

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Delaine Youngblood

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ms Threlkeld

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bailey Clark

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen Ishmurzin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Surine

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Smith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mallorie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Castañ

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Garland

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

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