July 24 – Amelia Earhart Day

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About the Holiday

On July 24, 1897 Amelia Mary Earhart was born. With astounding bravery and perseverance, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She was an author; a founder of the Ninety-Nines, an organization for women pilots; an instructor and career counselor; and she broke many aviation records. Her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 remains one of the most baffling historical mysteries.

I am Amelia Earhart

Written by Brad Meltzer | Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

 

Even as a child Amelia Earhart chafed at the idea that girls could only wear dresses, play with dolls, and have “unladylike” adventures. At the age of seven Amelia and her sister built a roller coaster in their backyard by placing two planks against a shed and making a car from a packing crate with roller skate wheels on the bottom. They even greased the wood to make it “super-fast.”

Amelia took the first ride. With the wind in her face she launched off the end of the ramp, catching air and her first feeling of flight. She crash landed a minute later, but declared the experience, “awesome!”

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Image copyright Christopher Eliopoulos

When Amelia was 23 she met Frank Hawks, who took her on her very first flight for ten dollars. It only took her ten minutes to realize that “she had to fly.” To save money for flying lessons Amelia took on many jobs. She worked as a truck driver, a stenographer, and a photographer. In time she learned to fly and within six months of becoming a pilot, she bought a bright yellow biplane that she named Canary.

Amelia admitted that she wasn’t a natural or even the best pilot, but she worked hard to learn the skills she needed. She also bravely dared to do what others wouldn’t or couldn’t. Because of her determination she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and then the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. At a time when people still traveled from America to Europe by boat, no one thought a woman would be able to fly that far.

To make the flight required the kind of grit that Amelia possessed. The trip took 14 hours and 56 minutes with no stops and no breaks, and when Amelia landed she broke the record for the fastest Atlantic flight ever. She broke other records too, including the woman’s altitude record and a speed record. Despite her success, whenever she set a new goal there were always people who told her she couldn’t do it. But she never let that stop her.

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Image copyright Christopher Eliopoulos

Her life and achievements serve as inspiration to all who aspire to great heights. Amelia’s advice? “Whatever your dream is, chase it. Work hard for it. You will find it. It is the best lesson I can give you.” And she added this reminder: “I hope you’ll remember that the greatest flight you’ll ever take, is the one no one has tried before.”

Part of Brad Meltzer’s I am… series of biographies, this portrait of Amelia Earhart highlights the traits of bravery and individualism—evident from her youngest years—that fueled her passion for adventure and breaking barriers. Perfectly suited for its audience, the text is conversational and includes funny asides from young Amelia to her readers. The repeated repartee between those who doubted her and Amelia (“you sure this is a good idea?” and “This isn’t a good idea. It’s the best idea!”) emphasizes Amelia’s determination and self-belief that will inspire kids to think likewise about their own dreams. The book follows Amelia from her childhood through her young adulthood and into her record-breaking years with well-chosen facts that illuminate but do not overwhelm. As this is a book to inspire children to reach for their dreams, the book makes no mention of Amelia’s eventual disappearance over the Pacific Ocean, instead leaving kids with wise words from this most iconic and fascinating adventurer.

Children love the accessibility of Christopher Eliopoulos’ I am… series illustrations! Enthusiasm and joy radiate from Amelia Earhart’s face as she races to meet the world head-on. Her dismay with typical “girl stuff” as well as her excitement when flying is evident in her very kid-like expressions. The scenes of Amelia building and riding her homemade roller coaster will make kids’ eyes widen in delight. Amelia’s various flights and planes are beautifully rendered in both up-close views of her aircraft as well as panoramic spreads showing her flying through clouds, over fields, and across the ocean. The full-bleed, vibrant and action-packed pictures will rivet kids’ attention to Amelia’s life and her inspiring message

Ages 5 – 9

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014 | ISBN 978-0803740822

Keep up with what Brad Meltzer is writing and doing next by visiting his website!

Discover the cartoon world of Christopher Eliopoulos on his website!

Amelia Earhart Day Activity

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Soar Toward Your Dreams Box Biplane

 

If you love airplanes and flying—or if you just have sky-high aspirations—you’ll have fun making your own plane from recycled materials! You can use your own creativity to decorate it or make Amelia Earhart’s Canary while you imagine yourself flying through the clouds on a beautiful day. This is a fun activity to share with an adult or older sibling too!

Supplies

  • Travel-size toothpaste box
  • 3 Long, wide craft sticks
  • 2 Short “popsicle” sticks
  • 5 Round toothpicks, with points cut off
  • Paint in whatever colors you like for your design
  • 4 small buttons or flat beads
  • Paint brushes
  • Strong glue or glue gun

Directions

  1. Empty toothpaste box
  2. Paint toothpaste box and decorate it
  3. Paint the craft sticks and 5 toothpicks
  4. Paint one small craft stick to be the propeller
  5. Let all objects dry

To assemble the biplane

  1. For the Bottom Wing – Glue one long, wide craft stick to the bottom of the plane about 1 inch from the end of the box that will be the front of the plane
  2. For the Top Wing – Glue the other long, wide craft stick to the top of the plane about 1 inch from the front of the plane
  3. For the Tail – Glue one short craft stick to the bottom of the box about ¾ inches from the end that is the back of the plane
  4. For the Vertical Rudder – Cut the end from one of the painted wide craft sticks, glue this to the back of the box, placing it half-way between each side

To assemble the wheels

  1. Cut 4 painted toothpicks ¾-inches long
  2. Cut one painted toothpick 1-inch long
  3. Glue 2 of the short toothpicks to the back of 1 button, the ends of the toothpicks on the button should be touching and the other end apart so the toothpicks form a V
  4. Repeat the above step for the other wheel
  5. Let the glue dry
  6. Glue the 1-inch long toothpick to the center of each wheel to keep them together and give them stability. Let dry

To make the back wheel

  1. Cut two ¼-inch lengths of painted toothpick and glue them together. Let dry
  2. Glue two mini buttons together to form the back wheel. Let dry
  3. Glue the ¼-inch toothpicks to the mini buttons. Let dry
  4. Glue these to the bottom of the plane in the center of the box directly in front of and touching the tail

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