Grade Level: 4th
Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith was a very delightful read. It not only discussed events of WWII, but it zeroed in on the sacrifices made by women.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It was empowering to read about the role of women in WWII. This book opens a discussion on gender, race, and religious issues. The main character, Ida Mae, is a fair skinned African-American woman living in Louisiana. She was taught to fly a small crop duster by her father but was unable to get her pilot’s license because of her color. Upon hearing of the WASP recruitment, she decides to use her fair complexion to get into the program.
This book does show readers the challenges faced by African-Americans in the 1940s as well as the challenges all women faced. The male characters in the book make snide comments about the ability of women to fly planes. There is even some ribbing between the women in regards to one girl being Jewish. On page 76, one of the characters says: “‘Carnies and hicks and Jews, oh my!”’
Because of the racial slanders, general belittling of women, and religious slurs, I would highly encourage parents to read this book before their child to get a better sense of the content and then decide if their child is mature enough to handle it. One of the friends of Ida Mae is very flirty and boy crazy. The author does a good job of making her comments nothing too risque. For example, on page 26 Jolene says, “… but I’ll be alive and looking good when those boys come home again. Remind them of what they’ve been fighting for.” There are also a few times where the girls visit local bars.
This book does lend itself to a whole lot of research potential. Your child can look into the planes mentioned, the WASP program, roles of Russian women in their military, and the roles of minorities in the army.
Overall, I believe that Flygirl is a worth-while read and would pair nicely with any nonfiction reading or research your child is doing over WWII. I think it would make a great book for a discussion group.
*All opinions and thoughts in this blog belong to the blogger and are not affiliated with the author.
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