First Flight around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race




Grove, Tim. First Flight around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race. Abrams 2015. 88pp. Lexile: 1100
 
In 1924, at a time when most people had never seen a plane, the public’s imagination was captured when the U.S., Portugal, France, UK, Italy, and Argentina competed to fly around the world.  A team of eight members of the U.S. Army Air Service—four pilots and four mechanics—set off from Seattle with high hopes  The open-cockpit planes, which needed constant maintenance and repairs, could switch from wheels to pontoons for water landings.  Thanks to the massive press coverage and a detailed journal kept by one of the mechanics, the author incorporates many quotes that give a sense of immediacy to the fast-moving narrative. Eye-catching graphics add interest with historic photos and artifacts as well as excellent maps pegged to each chapter.  Back matter includes a glossary; their itinerary; the number of days, time in the air, distance, stops, and countries; endnotes; bibliography; and index.  The book was published in association with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which has one of the planes on display. This is a terrific way to learn about the time period, aviation and transportation history, and world geography. 

Internet Tie-in:  One of the planes, a Douglas World Cruiser built specifically for the flight, is at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  Students can see it online at the museum’s website, which offers a wealth of material including photographs and videos on all aspects of flight.