Flygirl by Sherri Smith is one of the historical fiction titles from this year's Caudill nominees. Many of our students purchased this title at the Book Fair and they will not be disappointed. Louisiana native, Ida Mae Jones has inherited her father's love of flying. It's World War II and she wants to do her part by joining the WASPs. Only one problem: Ida Mae is African American and there is no room for her in the WASPs. Ida Mae is also so fair in complexion that she can "pass" and she decides to do just that. The rest of the story enfolds with Ida Mae heading for training, meeting other women pilots, making lasting friends and connections. Back at home her family is torn by her decision, her brother is missing in the war in the Pacific and her friendships are strained. Readers will experience many little known facts about the WASPs and women's roles in the military as well as African American life in the 1940's. Flygirl is full of aviation action, thoughtful personal exchanges and a unique part of American history. Do not pass up the excellent afterword by the author.
Andrew Clement continues his winning ways with realistic school set fiction. His latest entry is Trouble-Maker. Meet Clayton Hensley, 6th grader, who's file in the Principal's office is several inches thick dating back to first grade. More than the average cut-up, Clayton has made a career of causing trouble of varying degrees his entire school life. Clayton's older brother comes home early in the story from a month stay in the county jail. A tough love discussion from the older brother he idolizes, sets Clayton on the path to redemption. Or does it? Clayton soon realizes that changing your ways and changing your reputation are not so quickly achieved. Engaging, believable characters will draw any reader along to see how Clayton manages his last year in elementary school.