Skip to main content
US Macmillan Tradebooks for Courses

Born to Fly

The First Women's Air Race Across America

Steve Sheinkin; illustrations by Bijou Karman

Roaring Brook Press

Born to Fly Download image

ISBN10: 1626721300
ISBN13: 9781626721302


288 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

Just nine years after American women finally got the right to vote, a group of trailblazers soared to new heights in the 1929 Air Derby, the first women's air race across the U.S. Follow the incredible lives of legend Amelia Earhart, who has captivated generations; Marvel Crosson, who built a plane before she even learned how to fly; Louise Thaden, who shattered jaw-dropping altitude records; and Elinor Smith, who at age seventeen made headlines when she flew under the Brooklyn Bridge.

These awe-inspiring stories culminate in a suspenseful, nail-biting race across the country that brings to life the glory and grit of the dangerous and thrilling early days of flying. From Steve Sheinkin, the master of nonfiction for young readers who expertly unraveled the infamous story of whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the impeachment of Richard Nixon, comes the untold story of fearless women who dared to fly.

This title has common core connections.


Praise for Born to Fly

"Above all, Sheinkin makes the Derby pilots' passion for the sky so contagious, even a white-knuckle flier's heart can't help but soar."The New York Times

"Born to Fly is full of emergency landings, nail-biting finishes and (probable) acts of sabotage; when there isn't an archival photo to capture a moment, Bijou Karman's unpretentious line art fills in the gaps."Shelf Awareness (starred review)

"Suspenseful, informative, and remarkably uplifting."Kirkus Reviews

"Sheinkin’s story-like narration puts readers right in the action, making them gasp and cheer along with the fliers . . . This book soars as it details these often overlooked figures from history."Booklist (starred review)

"Sheinkin’s thorough research and attention to detail make the era come alive for readers."School Library Journal (starred review)

"With immediacy and vivid detail, Sheinken’s thoroughly researched account of these daring women will capture the imagination of contemporary readers."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt


They were the kinds of kids who jumped off the roofs of buildings.

Louise McPhetridge did it when she was just seven—climbed to the roof of her family’s barn in Bentonville, Arkansas, opened a giant...

About the author

Steve Sheinkin; illustrations by Bijou Karman

Steve Sheinkin is the acclaimed author of fast-paced, cinematic nonfiction histories for young readers, including The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, and Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon. His accolades include a Newbery Honor, three Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, a Sibert Medal, and three National Book Award finalist honors. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York, with his wife and two children.

Bijou Karman is an artist and illustrator from Los Angeles. She graduated with Distinction from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Bijou is inspired by nostalgia and a love of print and bright colors. She spends most of her time working on illustrations for editorials, books, and advertising, but also works in gouache to create paintings centered around fashion. She has illustrated How to Dress by Alexandra Fullerton, What Would Boudicca Do? by E. Foley and B. Coates, and the covers of the Penguin Classics editions of books by John Steinbeck and Iris Murdoch.

Erica Miller

Steve Sheinkin

Official Links

Bijou Karman

Official Links