Me and the Sky: Captain Beverley Bass, Pioneering Pilot

Knopf. Sept. 2019. 40p. photos. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525645498.
K-Gr 3–Bass, who’d always wanted to fly, overcame sexism and gender discrimination in the 1980s to become a commercial airline pilot. Bass and her coauthor, narrating in the third person, open with young Beverley’s repeated attempts to fly off the family washing machine. They remind readers of this determination throughout their chronicle of one woman’s persistence. The youngster convinced an aunt to take her to the airport to watch planes. After high school, Bass “drove herself” there to take flying lessons; soon she was flying for real. She took pilot jobs that men didn’t want until she was finally hired by American Airlines, eventually attaining a captain’s wings. An afterword describes further achievements; the astonishing hospitality in Newfoundland, whose inhabitants welcomed Captain Bass and her passengers as well as those of 37 other airliners who could not enter American airspace after the destruction of the World Trade Center; the musical version of that story, Come from Away; and the founding of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Stone’s digitally created illustrations, ranging from vignettes to double-page spreads, show the world of a mid-20th-century Good Housekeeping magazine, albeit more integrated. One spread depicts the dashboard of the plane, Bass’s hands on the controls, and puffy clouds in the blue sky in front of her.
VERDICT A solid account of breaking through gender barriers. Readers can easily imagine the thrill and the challenge of mastering the increasingly complex technology of larger and larger commercial jetliners.

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