Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Candace Fleming
Nonfiction
For ages 9 to 12
Random House, 2011   ISBN: 978-0375841989

For many people Amelia Earhart was a glamorous, brave woman who achieved great feats. There is no doubt that she was all these things, but she was also a savvy businesswoman who knew how important it was to create a marketable image. She therefore thought nothing of creating myths about herself that suited her public persona. It is hard to shift through all the layers of stories to find out what the real Amelia was like, but in this book, Candace Fleming has done just that.

As a child, Amelia was different from other little girls. She thought ladylike behavior and proper deportment was a waste of time. She could not understand why girls were not allowed to play sports, or why it was bad to get your clothes dirty. Amelia spent many years living with her grandmother who strongly believed that girls should not, under any circumstances, behave like boys. Thankfully for Amelia, her father was more open to more modern ideas and he let his daughters play basketball, he took them fishing, and he bought them a small rifle.

As Amelia grew up, she became more and more aware of the inequalities between men and women and she was eager to so something meaningful with her life. She wanted to have a life that was “free and fascinating” like the lives of professional women she had read about and admired.

While she was visiting her sister in Toronto in 1917, Amelia saw soldiers who had been injured in the Great War, and she stayed on in Canada to serve as a volunteer nurse until the war ended in 1918. It was during this time that she had her first real contact with airplanes and pilots. She could not convince any of the pilots to take her up in their planes, but she loved to hear their stories.

In 1920, Amelia left college in New York City and went to California to be with her parents. It was here that she finally got to go up in a plane, and where “Aviation caught me.” This experience would catapult her into a life full of adventure, fame, and ultimately tragedy.

In this gripping book, Candace Fleming alternates between telling her readers about Amelia Earhart’s life, and describing her disappearance when people desperately tried to contact and find her. The book is full of background information about aviation history, the people in Amelia’s life, and more. There are also maps and annotated photos throughout the book.

This book is one of the best young reader biographies that has, so far, been written about Amelia Earhart.

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