The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, illustrated by Julie Kwon

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee: Leung, Julie, Kwon, Julie:  9780759554955: Books

Summary:  Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Hazel Ying Lee was a fearless girl who loved running races with her brothers.  She fell in love with flying as a teenager, taking a job as an elevator operator (one of the few jobs open to Chinese Americans) to fund her flying lessons.  When World War II began, she signed up for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), and became one of the few women to fly high-powered fighter jets.  In 1944, a radio tower miscommunication resulted in a collision between Hazel’s plane and another, and she died two days later from her injuries.  Her family had to appeal all the way to the White House for permission to bury her in the whites-only cemetery of their choice.  An author’s note gives additional information, including the facts that WASPs finally received veteran status from Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Barack Obama awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009; also includes a list of additional resources.  48 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  Just in time for Women’s History Month (or at least the last ten days of it), this excellent picture book biography tells the story of a courageous young woman who overcame many obstacles to pursue her dream.  The additional resources make it a great starting point for more research.

Cons:  No photos in the book, so here you go.

Meet Hazel Ying Lee, The First Chinese American Woman to Be a Pilot in the  U.S. Military During WWII

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