FlygirlFlygirl by Sherri Smith
Published by: Speak
Release Date: 22 January 2009
Pages: 309
Genres: Diversity, Historical
Recommended For: Grades 7 - 9
Submitted by: Renata Sancken


In December 1941, as you probably know, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the United States entered World War II. What you might not know is that in the 1940s, there were female pilots in a program called the WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots. Ida Mae Jones has grown up around her father’s crop-dusting plane, and when she hears about the WASP, she knows immediately that she wants to sign up, especially since her big brother has already enlisted. There are two main problems with her plan. The first is that her mother is heartbroken at the thought of having two of her children away at war. The second problem is that the US armed forces were segregated in the 40s. Her brother Ben is with an all-black regiment. But the WASP is for white women only. Ida Mae is mixed race, and has very light skin, so she decides to try to enlist as a white girl. It works and she goes off for basic training in Texas. It’s dangerous work for all of them–the women are given older, unsafe planes to fly for practice. And it’s especially dangerous for Ida Mae, because she doesn’t know what would happen if people found out she was really black. She’s not even sure if she can trust the new friends she’s made, like Patsy, who used to be a wing-walker in airshows, and Lily, a rich girl who’s hilariously unprepared for army life.

Flygirl by Sherri Smith is an exciting historical adventure story about a time in America’s history when people were working together against a common enemy, even people who might have been enemies during peace time.

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