(For Ages: 10 – 99) We’re excited to welcome debut author Patricia Pearson to close our Women’s History Month Program with her book FLY GIRLS: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII. In the tradition of Hidden Figures, debut author Pearson offers a beautifully written account of the remarkable but often forgotten group of female fighter pilots who answered their country’s call in its time of need during World War II.
At the height of World War II, the US Army Airforce faced a desperate need for skilled pilots–but only men were allowed in military airplanes, even if the expert pilots who were training them to fly were women. Through grit and pure determination, 1,100 of these female pilots–who had to prove their worth time and time again–were finally allowed to ferry planes from factories to bases, to tow targets for live ammunition artillery training, to test repaired planes and new equipment, and more.
Though the WASPs lived on military bases, trained as military pilots, wore uniforms, marched in review, and sometimes died violently in the line of duty, they were civilian employees and received less pay than men doing the same jobs and no military benefits, not even for burials.
Their story is one of patriotism, the power of positive attitudes, the love of flying, and the willingness to do good with no concern for personal gain.
Praise for FLY GIRLS:
** Starred review from ALA’s Book List.
“[A]n adventurous and tumultuous account. A solid account of women’s contributions as aviators during World War II.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“[An] often thrilling tribute to these aviation heroes.” (Publishers Weekly)
*”It’s a truly inspiring read, and Pearson adeptly addresses the support and censure these fearless and dignified ladies received, and their shamefully drawn-out fight for recognition.” (Booklist, starred review)
About the Author
Patricia O’Connell Pearson is a former history teacher with a master’s degree in education from George Mason University. She has contributed to and edited history textbooks and published articles in magazines and newspapers including The Washington Post. Always enthusiastic about sharing the stories of history, she earned her MFA in writing for young people from Lesley University and now writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. When she is not writing about history, she can often be found talking about history as a volunteer with the National Park Service in Washington, DC.