Skyward (The Story of Female Pilots in WWII)

Hazel has been raised in San Francisco, Marlene, in the English countryside and Lilya spent her childhood in a small town in Russia. Separated by thousands of kilometers, those three young women have a passion in common: planes, and the sense of freedom that flying allows. Not easy if you were born at a time when the sky was reserved to male pilots and explorers! But none of the female protagonists in this empowering and informative work of creative non-fiction give up on their dreams. As WWII looms and drags men away from the workforce to the front lines, Hazel, Marlene and Lilya all join air bases and programmes, successfully fulfill dangerous missions and take this opportunity to show what women can accomplish.

Well-researched and ingeniously mixing fiction with history, Skyward is a gorgeous tribute to the uncelebrated heroines of WWII and all those women who, by sheer dedication and perseverance, opened many career paths for the generations to come. A wonderful introduction to a lesser-known side of history (the bibliography at the end of the album is a very welcome addition), this book is also a delight to behold: the pastel and kaki-toned illustrations convey the feel of the period evoked, but they are also brimming with the characters’ raw emotions, expressed through a brush stroke which manages to convey the rigidity of wartime while remaining as light as air.