#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Sisterhood and Female Bonds

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Flying Girl As An Inspiration To All The Other Girls Who Dream Of Soaring

"The Flying Girl: How Aida De Acosta Learned To Soar" by Margarita Engle and Sara Palacios.

Myra here.

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.


The Flying Girl: How Aida De Acosta Learned To Soar

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

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Flying Girl As An Inspiration To All The Other Girls Who Dream Of Soaring

  1. lindabaie

    I’m sure this is going to be fun to read, an inspiration from someone we have not heard about before. Thanks, Myra & to Margarita for writing the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margarita Engle has been such a wonderful author to watch and see what next she’ll write about.

    Liked by 1 person

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