The Flying Girl

Written by: Margarita Engle

Illustrated by: Sara Palacios

For ages: 3-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Historical Figures, Trailblazer.

Summary: This simple rhyming book tells the tale of how a teenage girl became the first woman to fly an airship. Aída became fascinated with flight when she saw an airship fly over her town, and began taking lessons after tracking down the pilot Alberto. Aída’s family was scandalized when they learned of her dreams to be a pilot, but she was undeterred. Alberto one day offered her a ride on his airship but Aída demanded that she be the pilot! Amazingly enough, Alberto conceded and she soared over the city like she had seen Alberto do on that fateful day which inspired her lifelong love of flight. When she lands, the townspeople are horrified that a woman was flying the airship and surround her shouting! Alberto however, is ecstatic for her and tells her she’s an inspiration for girls all over the world.

In the back of the book is also a more extensive life history of Aída de Acosta. This book is fabulous, and introduces young children to an individual that most of them have never heard of before!

Reflection Questions:

  • Has anyone ever told you that you couldn’t do something because you were a boy or girl?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • How do you think Aída felt after she had flown an airship for the first time?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn about women inventors!  Even though Aída did not necessarily invent the airship, she was on the frontlines of its development and the first woman to ever fly one.  Maybe you can even find an inventor or pilot to come visit your classroom!
  • Draw up your own plans of a flying machine.  What makes your invention revolutionary?  How can it help people get from place to place? Have an “Invention Convention” with your class and have everyone share their ideas.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

margaret-engleMargarita Engle is the 2017-2019 national Young People’s Poet Laureate, and USBBY’s 2019 nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Award, the world’s largest children’s literature honor. She is the Cuban-American author of many verse novels, including the Newbery Honor winner, The Surrender Tree, and PEN USA Award winner, The Lightning Dreamer. Her verse memoir, Enchanted Air, tells the story of her childhood summers in Cuba, where she developed a deep bond with her mother’s extended family, Cuban culture, and tropical nature. Margarita’s books have received multiple Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, Américas Awards, Jane Addams Awards and Honors, Walter Award Honors, and the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award. Books for younger children include All the Way to Havana, and the Charlotte Zolotow Award winner, Drum Dream Girl.

sara_palaciosSara Palacios studied Graphic Design at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico DF, and has an Associate Degree in Graphic Production Techniques from the School of Design, INBA  (National Institute of Fine Arts) in Mexico. She also has an Associate Degree in Illustration from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, as well as a BFA and MFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She has been a part time faculty member at the Academy of Art University since 2014. She is the recipient of the 2012 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor Award and the 2013 Tejas Star Book Award.

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