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Monday, March 6, 2017

Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot -- Learning about Women in History Series

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

 Did you hear about the women who made history recently that are in today's news everywhere? Air India had an all female crew fly round the world. Every crew member from the pilots, cabin crews, check-in and ground handling staff were women and Air India says even the engineers who certified the plane and the air traffic controllers who cleared departure and arrival were women. This is a first and they are applying for a spot in the Guinness World Records. (Source) This seems like the perfect time to share this great new book, Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith and illustrated by Matt Tavares. This book is being released next week, but I am going to share it with you today so you can pre-order it. 

http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763677329&pix=y

Have you heard of Sophie Blanchard? I hadn't. When I read the title to Hazel she said, "But wasn't Amelia Earhart the first female pilot?" I guess we need to read more about Amelia Earhart. Apparently our two books have mislead her thoughts. However she was excited to learn about Sophie Blanchard. She piloted a hot air balloon before there were airplanes. Lighter Than Air shares her story and we loved it. This amazing woman always knew she belonged in the sky. However she lived in a time where women did not go into the air. Only men got that chance in France at the time.  She got the chance when she met her husband. He was a performer and daredevil and he took her up in his balloon and that was the beginning. They flew together and did all sorts of things and when she lost him she took over his show and Napoleon named her Aeronaut of the Official festivals and Chief Air Minister of Ballooning. 
The author admits to some fiction in the story from her childhood since not much is known about it. She is more known for her death. She went up at night to light off fireworks from the balloon and one of the fireworks hit the balloon and set fire to it. However the story is interesting and learning about this amazing woman is the exact thing we should be doing during Women's History Month. I am really happy that this book is being released for us all to learn about Sophie Blanchard and her brave life. 

The illustrations are also amazing. The historical references are there as well as the dreamlike quality of being in the sky (and held up by such little things). I hope you will check it out!! Stay tuned for even more Women's History posts this month!!