Illustrated by Loren Long
Fiction and Non-Fiction picture Book
Ages 5 to 9
Simon and Schuster, 2007, 978-0-689-84879-7
When he was still a very little boy Great-great-uncle dreamed of flying. It was all he wanted to do. When he was just five he jumped off the chicken coop and when he was seven he jumped off the barn. When he was a eleven he paid to go up a little plane and he knew then “what it was like to go into the wind, against the wind, beyond the wind.”
When Uncle grew up he became a Tuskegee Airman with the 332nd Fighter Group. At first, he and the rest of his group were not wanted because they were black. But they did their duty. They did it very so well in fact that they did not loose a single plane that they were there to protect. Some of the pilots did not come home though. They were the “Tuskegee Wind flyers and they were “brave and young, all.”
This beautifully lyrical picture book perfectly captures the love that a boy and young man have for flying and for being in the air. The book also serves as a fitting tribute to the young men who served in the 332nd Fighter Group, a group of airmen who had to work harder than any others and who had to prove their ability better than any others. They did both with flying colors and they served their country with honor, courage, and dignity.
Loren Long’s warmly evocative paintings are perfectly paired with the text to create a memorable picture book with a significant historical setting. An author’s note at the back of the book provides further information about the Tuskegee Airmen.
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