Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot

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Product Details

Candlewick Press (MA)
Publish Date
8.7 X 11.9 X 0.6 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Matthew Clark Smith has a master's degree in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lives in Jackson, Mississippi.

Matt Tavares has written and illustrated many books for children, including Crossing Niagara, Zachary's Ball, Oliver's Game, Mudball, Henry Aaron's Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, Becoming Babe Ruth, and Growing Up Pedro. He is also the illustrator of Alicia Potter's Jubilee!, Doreen Rappaport's Lady Liberty, and Kristin Kladstrup's The Gingerbread Pirates. He lives in Ogunquit, Maine.


Smith tells Sophie's inspiring story with a buoyant sense of wonder, fitting for a woman who was happiest in the air. Her accomplishments and passion for flight are brought beautifully to life by Tavares' soft watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations... Sophie's bravery and commitment to following her heart makes this an uplifting biography that proves the sky's the limit when pursuing one's dreams.
--Booklist (starred review)

Smith's prose--rich, poetic, and strong on active verbs--is a fine match for Tavares' gorgeous ink-and-watercolor illustrations...A beautifully told story of a young woman with lofty aspirations.
--Kirkus Reviews

This amazing tale of the first female pilot is illustrated in ink and watercolor, with the changing sky becoming a character itself. A story that needs to be shared. Pair this with Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger's Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman to demonstrate that girls can reach their dreams.
--School Library Journal

Writing with dry humor and keen attention to detail, Smith (Small Wonders) recounts the story of Sophie Blanchard...Smith and Tavares emphasize Sophie's determination to achieve her dreams.
--Publishers Weekly

The words are poetic and descriptive. The illustrations are airy and free, and one feels the sensation of flight throughout the text and illustrations. Since libraries and classrooms are anxious to purchase books referencing STEM activities, this book will surely be a hit. The book is historical as well as entertaining and full of information...This title is a must for all school libraries.
--School Library Connection