Book Talk: Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

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Watch the video here, or read the talk below.

Is there anything better than flying? Before the war broke out, Ida Mae learned to fly a crop-duster, and now she wants to join the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Ida Mae Jones is black, but she’s got the light skin – and the guts – to try to pass as white. She makes it into training, where the flying is dangerous – and so is her secret if it gets out. Will she make it as a WASP? And will she be able to keep both her white pilot friends and her black family in her life? Read Flygirl to find out.

If you want to hear more of the history behind the WASP, this article is a good one.


Book details: Smith, S. L. (2008). Flygirl. New York, NY: Penguin. ISBN 9780399247095; hardcover; $16.99.

Annotation: A black female pilot passes as white to join the WASP and fly for the US military in WWII.


  • 2014 ALA Popular Paperback selection in the category of Conflicted: Life During Wartime
  • 2012-2013 Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award in the Division II (Grades 6-8) Category
  • 2012-2013 Virginia Readers’ Choice Award
  • 79th California Book Awards Young Adult Gold Medal
  • 2010 ALA Best Books for Young People
  • 2010 Capitol Choice Noteworthy Books for Children
  • 2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices Selection
  • 2010 Kansas State Reading Circle Catalog Selection
  • 2010 Amelia Bloomer Project Selection
  • 2010 Tayshas Reading List
  • 2009 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books
  • 2009 Washington Post Best Kids’ Books of the Year
  • Spring 2009 Indie Next Pick for Teen Readers

(Source: these awards, as well as other nominations, are found on the author’s website.)


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