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Pilots in Evening Gowns: When Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt Took to the Skies

On an April night in 1933, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt slipped away from a formal White House dinner for a spontaneous flight together — all while dressed in evening gowns!

Eleanor Roosevelt was one of America's most beloved First Ladies; Amelia Earhart was called the "First Lady of the Air." These two groundbreaking and unconventional women met and became close friends in 1932, the same year that Earhart made history with her record-breaking nonstop trans-Atlantic flight. Their individualism and sense of cheeky fun famously culminated in an escapade during a White House dinner on April 20, 1933; the pair led the party, all dressed in formal dinner attire to a nearby airfield, and Earhart and Roosevelt shared the cockpit for a spontaneous flight to Baltimore and back. The story is a testament to their spirit of adventure, and to the bond of friendship between two of the 20th century's most extraordinary women.

When Earhart met Roosevelt, the two were quick to become friends; Roosevelt, who frequently traveled by plane in her role as First Lady, was even inspired to get a student pilot's license. The two stereotype-smashing women shared a passion for women's rights and world peace, so when Roosevelt planned the White House dinner, it wasn't a surprise that she invited Earhart and her husband, George Putnam, to join her. Roosevelt's husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was away, so her brother Hall Roosevelt joined her instead; other guests included Thomas Wardwell Doe, the president of Eastern Air Transport, and Eugene Luther Vidal, the head of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Air Commerce.

During the dinner, Earhart grew impatient with the formalities and suggested to Roosevelt that they take a short flight to Baltimore and back. To Roosevelt, it sounded like the perfect adventure to pass the time before dessert! The group traveled to Hoover Field airport and boarded one of Eastern Air Transport's twin-engine Curtiss Condor planes. By protocol, two company pilots were supposed to operate the airplane; however, for much of the flight, Earhart took the captain's chair and Roosevelt sat next to her as co-pilot, all the while wearing a white silk gown and white kid gloves.

The journey was short, and when the plane returned, the Secret Service quickly shuttled everyone aboard back to the White House for dessert. Earhart would go on to break more flying records, then tragically disappear during her attempt at a round-the-world flight, while Roosevelt would become known as "First Lady of the World" due to her dedication to humanitarian causes, including her key role as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights. But that April night remains a tribute to these two women and their free spirits. "I'd love to do it myself. I make no bones about it," Roosevelt told The Baltimore Sun. "It does mark an epoch, doesn't it, when a girl in an evening dress and slippers can pilot a plane at night."

Books About Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt

Amelia: My First Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams)

Amelia: My First Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams)

Written by: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrated by: MARIADIAMANTES
Recommended Age: 1 - 3

Young Amelia Earhart dreamed of flying like a bird, so as an adult, she decided to learn how to fly a plane! Female pilots were few and far between, but Amelia wanted to prove that women could fly just as well as men. First, she set a female world record by flying at 14,000 feet; then, she flew across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; and finally, she decided to try flying all around the whole world. This board book from the Little People, BIG DREAMS series, which also includes a board book about Maya Angelou, will inspire and empower the littlest readers.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$12.20 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£9.24 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$26.21 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$5.99 (USD)

I Am Amelia Earhart

I Am Amelia Earhart

Written by: Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by: Christopher Eliopoulos
Recommended Age: 4 - 8

Amelia Earhart refused to take no for an answer — whether it was about building a roller-coaster on the tool shed as a child, or about learning to fly a plane as an adult! She wanted to go farther than anyone ever had, and do things that no one had ever done. And as a pilot, she did so over and over, breaking record after record for female pilots! This book from author Brad Meltzer's bestselling Ordinary People Change the World series shows kids how Earhart's childhood daring led to a groundbreaking career in aviation... and inspires them to consider how they themselves might change the world.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$18.76 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£11.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$15.90 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$9.94 (USD)

Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride

Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride

Written by: Pam Munoz Ryan
Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Recommended Age: 5 - 9

In April, 1933, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt found themselves together at a White House dinner party... one which wasn't exactly thrilling. So the two headstrong friends decided to head out for a little excursion: they crept away (still in their evening gowns), commandeered an Eastern Air Transport plane, and set off on a nighttime flight from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore! This lavish picture book, illustrated in the style of a vintage movie, celebrates the joy of adventure and the special relationship between these two historic women.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$21.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£15.79 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$50.03 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.49 (USD)

Eleanor, Quiet No More

Eleanor, Quiet No More

Written by: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Gary Kelley
Recommended Age: 6 - 9

Eleanor was raising in a privileged but stern Victorian household, and she was not the kind of girl they expected: her lively mind, independent spirit, and deep compassion earned her a lonely childhood. But as an adult, those same qualities won her the admiration of friends, the love of future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and a place in history as the most socially and politically active First Lady America had ever seen. This eloquent picture book biography of Eleanor Roosevelt from the Big Words series pays appropriate homage to this inspiring woman. For more books about Roosevelt, visit our Eleanor Roosevelt Collection.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$19.60 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£14.31 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$46.63 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$16.64 (USD)

Who Was Amelia Earhart?

Who Was Amelia Earhart?

Written by: Kate Boehm Jerome
Recommended Age: 8 - 12

Amelia Earhart was daring and bold, and she dreamed of taking to the sky. As an adult, she got her pilot's license and started making flights — and breaking records. She achieved worldwide fame when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932, and then followed it up with becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific too! This book from the accessible Who Was...? biography series introduces middle grade readers to Earhart's exciting life and mysterious disappearance. There is also a volume from this series about Eleanor Roosevelt.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$7.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$14.37 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$5.99 (USD)

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter For Justice

Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World

Eleanor Roosevelt, Fighter For Justice

Her Impact on the Civil Rights Movement, the White House, and the World

Written by: Ilene Cooper
Recommended Age: 10 and up

As a child and a young woman, Eleanor Roosevelt was deeply insecure about her looks, and hesitant to raise her voice. But she realized that her politically important family — and later, her president husband — gave her a forum to push for positive change. As she fought her insecurities and her own prejudices, she also learned to speak out for those in less privileged positions, drawing attention to many causes, including the Civil Rights movement. Ilene Cooper's biography provides a new perspective on Roosevelt's life that will speak to many tweens and teens, and a reminder that anyone can be an advocate, and activist, and a crusader for justice.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$24.21 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£20.54 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$11.06 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$16.09 (USD)

Women Aviators

26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys

Women Aviators

26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys

Written by: Karen Bush Gibson
Recommended Age: 12 and up

Did you know that Katherine Wright, the Wright Brothers' sister, was involved in the invention of the airplane? It just goes to show that women have been involved since the first days of aviation! In this book from the Women of Action series, teens will learn about her and 25 other aviation pioneers who defied the idea that only men had the physical and mental capacity to fly. Along the way, they set new records and inspired people around the world! Author Karen Bush Gibson draws on primary sources to tell the stories of these women with verve and flair.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$17.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£10.57 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$22.99 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.29 (USD)

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Written by: Russell Freedman
Recommended Age: 8 and up

Older kids are ready for a more in-depth look at Roosevelt's life and accomplishments. A timid child more interested in books than parties, she experienced a largely unhappy childhood but her open heart and intelligence helped her to become an outspoken, determined woman who truly changed the world. This book tackles some of the more difficult aspects of Roosevelt's life, alongside her many triumphs, to create a rounded portrait of one of the 20th century's most highly regarded figures. For more resources about Roosevelt, visit our Eleanor Roosevelt Collection.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$15.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£12.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$39.35 (AUD)
Amazon.com
(Unavailable)

East To The Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart

East To The Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart

Written by: Susan Butler
Recommended Age: Adults

Decades after her mysterious disappearance, myth about Amelia Earhart are almost as prevalent as facts — not just about her final flight, but about her life, her relationships, and even whether she was a capable pilot. Author Susan Butler drew on years of research and interviews with people who knew Earhart to create a nuance portrait of her work as a pilot, an educator, and a promoter of women's rights. She explores her childhood influences and her adult battles against sexism, and how Earhart's example has inspired generations of women after her. This comprehensive biography is a must-read title for anyone who wants to know more about the First Lady of the Air.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$21.99 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£12.71 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$29.99 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$11.29 (USD)

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

Written by: Eleanor Roosevelt
Recommended Age: Adults

Eleanor Roosevelt was the daughter of an influential family and ended up married to one of the most powerful men in America, and over her life she saw some of the most important events of modern American history. In her own words, Roosevelt describes life as America moved from the Gilded Age to the Cold War, as well as her humanitarian work both within her home country and around the world. Her candid and insightful look at how she became one of America's most beloved women is equal parts intriguing and inspiring, a unique self-portrait of one of the 20th Century's most remarkable women.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
C$24.13 (CAD)
Amazon.co.uk
£7.99 (GBP)
Amazon.com.au
A$32.21 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$12.49 (USD)

Women Who Dared Building Blocks

Women Who Dared Building Blocks

Manufacturer: Uncle Goose
Recommended Age: 2 and up

Pay tribute to 32 women who changed the world with this set of heirloom-quality blocks from Uncle Goose! This hand-crafted set features women who made significant contributions to the world, including figures like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and more. Each block features one woman's name, portrait, quote, and a short explanation of her historical importance. Together, the blocks can be assembled to form the Suffrage Movement slogan Deeds Not Words. They're sturdy enough for play but also make a beautiful display piece and learning tool — and, like all Uncle Goose products, they're made in the USA from sustainable Michigan basswood and non-toxic inks.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
(Unavailable)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com
$68.00 (USD)

Amelia Earhart Tween Costume

Amelia Earhart Tween Costume

Manufacturer: California Costumes
Recommended Age: 8 - 13

Soar bravely into the skies in this inspiring Amelia Earhart costume! This costume is perfect for Halloween or day-to-day dress-up play. The set includes a bomber jacket, pants, a neck scarf, a hat, and goggles. For younger Earhart fans, there is also an Amelia Earhart Toddler Costume for ages 2 to 4, while older teens and adults can check out this Amelia Earhart Adult Costume.

Buy:
Buy:
Amazon.ca
(Unavailable)
Amazon.co.uk
(Unavailable)
Amazon.com.au
A$56.49 (AUD)
Amazon.com
$36.92 (USD)

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