You Can Fly

The Tuskegee Airmen

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About The Book

In this “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford “wields the power of poetry to tell [the] gripping historical story” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier during World War II.

I WANT YOU! says the poster of Uncle Sam. But if you’re a young black man in 1940, he doesn’t want you in the cockpit of a war plane. Yet you are determined not to let that stop your dream of flying.

So when you hear of a civilian pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute, you leap at the chance. Soon you are learning engineering and mechanics, how to communicate in code, how to read a map. At last the day you’ve longed for is here: you are flying!

From training days in Alabama to combat on the front lines in Europe, this is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the groundbreaking African-American pilots of World War II. In vibrant second-person poems, Carole Boston Weatherford teams up for the first time with her son, artist Jeffery Weatherford, in a powerful and inspiring book that allows readers to fly, too.

Excerpt

You Can Fly

About The Author

Photograph © Darryl Hawkins

Carole Boston Weatherford has written many award-winning books for children, including Caldecott Honor winners Freedom in Congo Square, Voice of Freedom, Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Her recent books include In Your HandsThe Legendary Miss Lena Horne, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, and How Sweet the Sound. Carole lives in North Carolina. Visit her at CBWeatherford.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 2017)
  • Length: 96 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481449397
  • Grades: 4 - 7
  • Ages: 9 - 12
  • Lexile ® 910L

Raves and Reviews

*“Weatherford again wields the power of poetry to tell a gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations by her son, making a notable debut.”

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “Weatherford’s skill with language provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men. A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.”

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The narrative voice draws readers into the action, addressing them directly and inviting them to imagine themselves into this ground-breaking role . . . this title is particularly well adapted to classroom use, where language arts and history students can share common air space.”

– BCCB

"This book sheds light on the Tuskegee Airmen through stories filled with authentic voices and hard truths. For those who already know of the Airmen’s accomplishments, the book offers a more personal connection to the men and their ideas and feelings through poems . . . which demonstrate that despite their proven skill and heroism, the aviators were still denied acceptance and respect."

– School Library Journal

“Weatherford’s informative, evocative poems follow the Airmen from the early vision . . . to the flyers’ experiences at home and abroad, with poems about Joe Louis and Lena Horne reminding us that the Airmen were also fighting another war in this country—against prejudice.”

– Horn Book - July/August 2016

"This volume offers a vivid, personal point of view. A welcome addition to traditional books on the Tuskegee Airmen."

– Booklist - April 1, 2015

Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)
  • NCTE Notable Poetry List
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
  • NCTE Notable Verse Novel List

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Carole Boston Weatherford