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Taking Off: Airborne with Mary Wilkins Ellis

As a child, Mary Wilkins Ellis longed to fly, but she had to wait until she was 16 before she could have her first lesson. She soon became the youngest licensed pilot in her English county, but then all civilian flight was banned when Germany launched its attacks on Britain in 1940. Mary was grounded.

One day she chanced to hear a radio appeal for Britons with pilot’s licenses — even women — to join the Air Transport Auxiliary and ferry brand new fighter planes to Royal Air Force bases. Mary immediately applied, and spent the rest of the war delivering hundreds of different kinds of aircraft, most of which she’d never flown before — forming lifelong bonds with her colleagues, surviving many a close call, and helping to save her country from destruction.

After the war she became a flight instructor, ran an air taxi service, then managed an airfield, the only woman in Europe to do so. In her spare time, she won rallies in her racing car. Mary’s childhood dream became a thrilling lifetime aloft, lasting until she died at 101. With watercolor and ink illustrations which perfectly capture the exhilaration of flying, Taking Off brings this little-known figure and her can-do spirit to life.

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Description

"Delicate, softly tinted pen, ink, and watercolor spreads by Caldecott Medalist McCully make Mary’s work seem as calm as the green fields she passes over as she ferries aircraft large and small to RAF bases. Even close calls, as when an engine cuts out in midair, convey steadiness in a picture book about women pilots, all portrayed as white, who were able to do what they loved most in an era when not many women’s dreams were fulfilled." — Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Recommended Age 6 - 9
Author Emily Arnold McCully
Illustrator Emily Arnold McCully
ISBN 0823449661
Publication Date Feb 1, 2022
Publisher Margaret Ferguson Books
Language English