We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
Written by Margarita Engle Illustrated by Sara Palacios
Published by Atheneum Books For Young Readers (2018).
ISBN: 1481445022 (ISBN13: 9781481445023)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I did not know about Aida De Acosta until I read this picturebook. A day spent in Paris witnessing the flying dirigible of Brazilian inventor Albert Santos-Dumont has set Aida’s mind free, daring her to dream of doing something that is not expected of girls at the time: fly.
Despite the fact that both her parents discouraged her from pursuing her dream, she took it upon herself to learn all that she could from the Brazilian inventor regarding gears, levers, ballast, ropes – until she realizes her dream of — not just being a passenger on this dirigible invented by a man — but its pilot.
I love how the story has a lilting, rhythmic quality to it that is the trademark of Margarita Engle. Only a poet would be able to capture an entire life and distill it in just a few words that move a young reader’s sensibility such that the story dances of its own free will, just like Aida De Acosta flying this dirigible on her own.
“You did it!” he shouted. “You flew! You’re a hero, such a brave inspiration for all the girls of the world.”
The Author’s Note also indicated how Aida De Acosta was compelled by her father to keep this monumental accomplishment to herself, when he discovered all about her historic flight in the papers.
Aida was an obedient daughter, so she kept her promise until the 1930s, when she donated her papers to the Smithsonian, where they were displayed along with the engine of the airship she had flown.
This was a fascinating read about a little-known American woman of Cuban and Spanish parentage, her bold and fearless dream of flight, and her realizing it, regardless of society’s expectations of what a woman should or should not do. Definitely a girl-powered title that should be added to anyone’s library.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – United States of America