Review: La Joven Aviadora (The Flying Girl)

La Joven Aviadora
Author: Margarita Engle
Translator: Teresa Mlawer
Illustrator: Sara Palacios
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Ages 4-8

In this impeccable Spanish Language translation of Engle’s The Flying Girl, we learn the story of Aida de Acosta Breckenridge, an American socialite and the first woman to fly a powered aircraft, solo. De Acosta, of Cuban and Spanish descent, was taught to fly by Alberto Santos-Dumont, known in Brazil, his native country, as the father of aviation.

After having successfully taken three lessons (on the ground!), De Acosta was able to successfully navigate her craft onto a Polo Pony field. The flight was completed six-months before the Wright Brothers flew in a heavier-than-air powered craft!

Mlawer’s translation flows effortlessly and is an easy, light read. Palacio’s illustrations are evocative of the 1900s and appropriately evoke the soft, nostalgic romanticism of the time. Long diagonal lines are employed throughout forcing the readers eyes up into the higher planes of the pages–evoking flight, and dreams. The colors are not quite pastels, but have a medium chalk-like glisten that provide depth and warmth. Interesting foreground and background details add charming notes that complement not only the text, but De Acosta’s flight.

From a biographical perspective, the picturebook provides a quick, interesting story of a native New Jerseyan that many people do not know existed and adds to any collection that celebrates women in history.

La Joven Aviadora (Support an Independent Bookstore)*
La Joven Aviadora (Amazon)*

My thanks to Atheneum Books (Simon and Schuster) for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

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