Skyward // by Sally Deng
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: MG Picture Book, Non-Fiction (WWII)
My Basic Plot: This is the story of three Allied pilots during World War II… who all happen to be women. Hazel is from the U.S., Marlene is from England, Lilya is from the Soviet Union.
1) I loved the illustrations! Nicely done.
2) This is a history book that tells you the little things about history. (Like the fact that the women were given uniforms that were too big for them. Makes sense since the uniforms would have been originally made for men.) They had to use their sewing skills to make the uniforms wearable!
3) None of these women are famous. And while I like reading about famous people who did great things, I also love reading about the regular people who did their part to win the war. (According to the author’s note, Hazel from the U.S. seems to have been a real person. Not sure about the other two. But I’m sure she did her research to get their experiences.)
4) I did like that we get three different experiences with these three different women, each from a different part of the world.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) At times I was a little confused about which woman was from where. Especially at the beginning of the story. It starts with Hazel and then moves on to Marlene and for some reason, I thought they were the same girl. I wish there had been tags or something to remind us that Hazel was from the U.S., Marlene was from England, etc.
2) Hazel is of Chinese heritage, however, this wasn’t very clear in the book. It’s only hinted at when she and her friend (who happens to be black) are thinking of joining the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots). One of them says: “A Chinese American and an African American want to join? They will think us crazy and laugh in our faces.” I’m pretty sure the term African American would not have been used in 1942-3. Little things like that do bother me, especially since it’s in dialogue of people from the era. If it had been the narrator, I’d be okay with it.
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I enjoyed this look into the history of women pilots in World War II. I’m pretty much a sucker for anything to do with WWII, so this was right up my alley. It’s a picture book, but it’s definitely meant for older kids (as there’s a lot of text).