American Wings

American Wings

Chicago’s Pioneering Black Aviators and the Race for Equality in the Sky

From the acclaimed author of Flygirl and the bestselling author of Code Name Verity comes the thrilling and inspiring true story of the desegregation of the skies.

In the years between World War I and World War II, aviation fever was everywhere, including among Black Americans. But what hope did a Black person have of learning to fly in a country constricted by prejudice and Jim Crow laws, where previous Black aviators like Bessie Coleman had to move to France to earn their wings?

American Wings follows a group of determined Black Americans: Cornelius Coffey and Johnny Robinson, skilled auto mechanics; Janet Harmon Bragg, a nurse; and Willa Brown, a teacher and social worker. Together, they created a flying club and built their own airfield on Chicago’s South Side. As the U.S. hurtled toward World War II, they established a school to train new pilots, teaching both Black and white students together and proving, in a time when the U.S. military was still segregated, that successful integration was possible.

Complete with rare historical photographs throughout, American Wings brings to light a hidden history of pioneering Black men and


In the sky, murder has no borders.

Europe, 1937. Stella North, who has learned to fly planes as a teen, has the opportunity to participate in a race across Europe for a hefty sum of prize money. The race is billed by its eccentric organizer, Lady Frith, as the “Circuit of Nations Olympics of the Air” and is designed to promote peace and sport among Europe’s young pilots; entrants must be under the age of 21. 

Europe pre-WWII is an unsettled and dangerous place: civil war is raging in Spain, Hitler is in power in Germany, Italy has embraced Fascism, and in the Soviet Union, anyone who speaks out against the government is ruthlessly imprisoned and executed. The air race is going to be an unusual propaganda event for many of the participants. Stella needs to be careful as she navigates her way across Europe’s troubled skies, not least because of her own family background (her parents were murdered during the Russian Revolution, and her aunt and uncle fled to Britain with her when she was only three.) 

Nevertheless, she is shocked when she witnesses one of the race’s participants using his plane to ram another pilot out of the

The Last Hawk

Nazi Germany is a dangerous place for a girl with a stutter, but when Ingrid soars through the skies in her beloved glider planes, she feels safe and free.

It’s like a dream come true when her hero, daring test pilot Hanna Reitsch, invites Ingrid on a propaganda tour. But through her work with Hanna, Ingrid learns some dangerous truths about the Nazi regime and a shocking secret mission that could change the course of the war.

When everything is at stake, Ingrid must decide where her loyalties lie.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+, The Last Hawk is a companion to Firebird and White Eagles.

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