Friday, December 1, 2017

YOU CAN FLY:  The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Jeffery Weatherford.  New York: Athenum Books for Young Readers, 2017. 96p. ISBN 978-1481449380 hc. $16.99    Gr. 4-8     JNF (811.6)
Told from the perspective of a young black recruit who took part in a pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute at the beginning of World War II, these historical poems imply much more than they say about inequality between blacks and whites.  Weatherford chooses her words well.  “Some days, you look heavenwards, sensing that it might be easier to defy gravity than Jim Crow,” referring to Jim Crow laws that denied blacks the same freedoms enjoyed by whites.  In addition to poems about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and descriptions of dogfights with Nazi pilots, several poems chronicle efforts by singer, Lena Horne, boxer Joe Louis, and attorney William Henry Hastie to further the rights of blacks through their celebrity status.  A timeline at the back of the book follows the progression of equal rights from the Civil War to 2007, when the Tuskegee Airmen finally received their long overdue Congressional Medals of Honor at the White House.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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