Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Schwartz & Wade/Random House Children’s Books, 2011
for ages 8-12, according to publisher (I’d put it more at 10-14.)
Anyone who read Candace Fleming’s The Great and Only P.T. Barnum (2009) knows that the author writes an exciting biography, well-paced and full of fascinating information. Her new book is even better! The photo-filled Amelia Lost opens on July 2, 1937, the day Earhart and her navigator are due on a remote Pacific Island to refuel on a historic around-the-world flight. Fleming alternates chapters between that time and the events leading up to it: Earhart’s early years in Kansas and peripatetic childhood, her first flight, and her savvy collaboration with George Putnam, the publicist who eventually became her husband. It was the Lindbergh era, when the public was smitten with stories of stunt flying and world records, and Earhart was the leading female pilot of the day.
Readers glean enough clues to guess a couple of things that may have gone wrong on that final flight, and the author adds mystery by including reports of far-flung adults and children who claim to have heard Earhart’s distress calls over the shortwave radio.
Earhart’s role as a feminist icon is clear, though the book is far from didactic. Fleming writes, “It is impossible to gauge how much Amelia’s life inspired the generations of women who came after her. At a time when women felt limited to the roles of wife and mother she encouraged them to challenge themselves and seize their dreams. And she did it with zest, boldness, and courage.”
For more posts on nonfiction books for children, check the Nonfiction Monday round up at Capstone Connect.
Many thanks to the Westport Library for providing the power for this blog post!