Category Archives: Awards – Amelia Bloomer

Violet the Pilot

Violet the Pilot
By Steve Breen
Dial Books, 2008
Amelia Bloomer Award

Violet reads Popular Science magazine and prefers to play with monkey wrenches and needle-nose pliers.  She is a mechanical genius.  Fortunately her parents manage a junk yard, so she has easy access to stuff.  By the time she turns eight, she is building elaborate machines—that fly!  She makes a Bicycopter, a Rocket Can and a Pogo Plane.  At school she eats alone and classmates tease her.  A poster announcing an air show, engages her dreams and she decides to enter in the show a flying machine.  She gives it a test flight and it passes with flying colors.  On the way to the air show, she spots a group of boy scouts that are having canoe trouble.  Realizing she will forgo the air show, she flies down to rescue the scouts.  From the hospital she waves good bye, but it is 3:30 and she missed the air show.  But, later that night she hears a crowd calling out, “THERE’S OUR HERO!”  The press, mayor, fire and police chiefs, along with kids from her school are outside.  The major awards her a medal of valor as a token of their gratitude and esteem.   And wait until you see the last page–Violet’s real reward!

Wake up the dreams in your imaginative young reader!

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Almost Astronauts, 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Almost Astronauts, 13 Women Who Dared to Dream
Tanya Lee Stone
Candlewick, 2009

Always attracted to books about successful women, I discovered a rich telling of 13 women with very different stories who fought to do what was natural to them, fly.  While these 13 women were unable—in the late 50’s/early 60’s—to break the barriers against women and were unable to join NASA’s space program, they were able to lay strategic groundwork that later allowed other women into NASA’s program.

We meet Jerrie Cobb, the woman who challenged the male-dominated space program, secretly taking the same tests the men took to get into the program.  She passed them, far surpassing the men.  But the world wasn’t ready for women as equals yet.

A compelling slice in time, the author weaves 13 stories in with stories of key supporters as well as key non-supporters. She helps readers understand the era, and includes insights learned from some of the original 13 women.  Using dozens of photos we see the women who logged thousands of flight hours, in a time when they endured blatant discrimination for even that.  An inspiring book, especially for young people aspiring to fly.  Adults will enjoy, too.

Almost Astronauts won both the Seibert Information Books Medal and the Amelia Bloomer Award.

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Imogene’s Last Stand

Imogene’s Last Stand
By Candace Fleming, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009
Amelia Bloomer Award

Join in the passion and relentless tactics of strong-headed history buff Imogine as she uncovers a bit of history that “will put her small town on the map.”

History lover Imogene fights to keep open a centuries-old historical society scheduled for demolition.  But “the new shoelace factory will put Liddleville on the map,” the townspeople say, and nobody pays attention to her.  “I won’t let it happen!” she declares.  “In the immortal words of John Paul Jones, “I have not yet begun to fight!’”  And so begins her appeal.

After several historical, patriotic grandstanding attempts to create interest in saving the site, she discovers a significant historical document.  She has only one day to save the building, and puts a scheme into place. She locks herself in a neck yoke on the building’s front porch to protest the destruction, and buy some time.

Bulldozers and TV reporters arrive; the townspeople gather to see what will happen.  When her dad arrives, the mayor demands he do something about the girl, and her father locks himself into another rack and sits with his daughter.  Midafternoon the President of the United States (a woman, of course) arrives and declares it an historical site.  Imogene succeeded in putting her town on the map!

Imogene’s parting words, “”That was totally fun!

A delicious story for strong, developing girls.

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A Book

A Book
By Mordical Gerstein
Roaring Brook Press, 2009
Amelia Bloomer Award

The story begins with wondering what it would be like to live in a book; a fascinating concept for a young child.

Over breakfast, we meet the family members who live in the book and discover their story; but the youngest, a little girl, does not have a story.  Mother Goose appears and points out that everything the little girl says is seen by “the reader”.  Spotting the “huge…blobby thing” looking at her, embarrasses the little girl and she hides behind the goose.  The goose takes her through her land of folk and fairy tales, where the reader can enjoy identifying each story.  Her dog, with a detective, tries to help; her fish, who has joined a band of pirates, tries to help; and her brother, now an astronaut, makes suggestions, but these stories are not the little girl’s story.  At dinner she knows what her story is and announces it to her family.  They all cheer for her.  After dinner, she writes her story. The book ends with the little girl lying in bed asking the reader to please close the book so she can sleep.

Imagining what it would be like to live in a book woven together with the young child searching for her story makes this a compelling story for young readers.

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