Love Is in the Air: The Story of Aviation Pioneer Nancy Harkness Love

Aladdin. Sept. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534484191.
K-Gr 4–Nancy Harkness, a white teenager from northern Michigan, paid a pilot her weight in pennies for an impromptu airplane ride. The plane’s loops and twirls ignited her love for flying and propelled her to earn her pilot’s license. With the onset of the Great Depression, she moved to Boston in search of work as a pilot, where she met and married Bob Love. World War II provided Love with the opportunity to work for Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, later the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Love and the other WASPs served the U.S. flying military aircraft until the end of the war, when their jobs were given to the men returning from war. Romito’s picture book biography highlights a history-changing woman, but the account is not without its flaws. At times, the narrative adopts an overly agreeable tone, gliding over fleeting references to the “resistance and discrimination” that Love and the other women faced as pilots. In addition, Romito neglects to provide the years in which events occurred, aside from alluding to the Great Depression and the start of World War II. Mineker’s digital illustrations are brightly colored and reinforce the optimistic tone. However, the text makes reference to discrimination, while the illustrations depict mostly serene women. Back matter includes an author’s note, photos, and sources.
VERDICT This picture book biography suffers moments of mid-flight turbulence, but may prove inspirational for some.

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