Meet Nancy Bird Walton by Grace Atwood

cover image

Ill. by Harry Slaghekke. Meet... series. Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780758984883
(Age: 6+) Historical. 1940's. Australian heroes. Another in the series Meet... is a welcome addition for primary classes wanting an easy to read story of one of Australia's little known heroes. For younger readers, it is an introduction to her life and times, and will get them into the libraries or onto the Internet to find out more. For older readers the information is very brief and will whet their appetites to learn more. The illustrations will fascinate older readers too, as illustrator, Harry Slaghekke has taken a deliberate approach to his illustrations ensuring readers will be grounded in the times when Walton lived, using the look promoted by advertisements in the post war years and reflected on the models he loved to put together as a child.
Nancy Bird wanted to fly. She lived at a time of furious aviation activity, when the world gasped as men took extraordinary risks pushing the boundaries of flight. In Australia the achievements of the Kingsford Smith brothers were in everyone's minds, and Nancy at 18 was instructed by Charles Kingsford Smith at Mascot in Sydney, despite her father's disapproval. By 20 she had her first plane and became known as the 'angel of the outback' for her work with the Far West Children's Health Scheme, the first woman to fly commercially.
She followed her dream and became a legend and this is briefly outlined in this book. Every sentence reveals another fact of her life, her journey to fulfill the dream she held, and with a timeline at the end, readers will gain an idea of one of our extraordinary aviation pioneers, Nancy Bird, flying into a man's world, pushing the boundaries for those that followed her. This series from Random House now includes books about Ned Kelly, Mary McKillop, Douglas Mawson, the Anzacs and Captain Cook, all giving a brief but enticing glance at their lives and times, enough to impel readers to find out more.
Fran Knight