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Flygirl
Book
2009
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flying, an almost impossible aspiration for a black woman in 1940s America. With the coming of World War II she passes for white to join the WASPs-the Women's Airforce Service Pilots-and serves her country ferrying planes across the country. Why It Is for Us: This fictional story celebrates the esprit de corps of the young women who joined the WASPs, whose heroism was not acknowledged until the 1970s. Ida Mae and her friends are modeled after real-life WASPs yet come alive with their own indomitable spirit. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* This breakthrough title adds a new story to the shelves of World War II books. Here, the enemy is not just a foreign threat; it is also prejudice--of both race and gender--here at home. In 1941, black high-school graduate Ida Mae Jones, 18, worries about her soldier brother, who is on the front, and longs to fight for her country, too. Her late dad taught her to fly a crop-dusting plane, and when the U.S. starts the WASP (Women Airforce Service Program), she is determined to join up. The slights against women are constant, as is racial prejudice, including the n word. Ida Mae is so light-skinned that she can pass as white, which means leaving her family and friends and creating a new identity. She goes through the rigorous training program, bonds with some fellow trainees, and flies for her country. The details about navigation are exciting, but tougher than any flight maneuver are Ida Mae's loneliness, shame, and fear that she will be thrown out of the military, feelings that culminate in an unforgettable climax. Always, there is the reality of living under Jim Crow. An afterword fills in the history of the WASP, which notes that while records do not show that there were any black female pilots at the time, those records do not tell the truth about pilots like Ida Mae.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2009 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

During World War II, a semi-military unit of women pilots, the WASPs, fought for their chance to serve their country. The WASPs did not accept "colored" women, however. That proves no obstacle for pilot Ida Mae Jones, who is light-skinned enough to pass for white, although she risks her life if she's caught and may even risk her eventual return to her family. This well-told, interesting story moves along at a good clip, as Smith paints a vivid picture of the WASPs, with the suspense of Ida Mae's deception always lurking beneath the surface. The misogynistic military and bigoted townsfolk can't stop Ida Mae and her new friends from doing their bit. Those friendships and a possible forbidden romance keep Ida Mae occupied when she isn't flying. A vibrant picture of WWII women and of Jim Crow as it was then. (Historical fiction. 12 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p>Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy's gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.</p> <p>When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of 'passing,' of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one's racial heritage, denying one's family, denying one's self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.</p> <br>
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