In 1928, the sleepy town of Trepassey in Newfoundland became the focus of international attention. Amelia Earhart, the woman aviator, was using Trepassey as the launching point for her attempt to be the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic. Told from the perspective of Grace, a young girl in town who writes the local newspaper, this is the fictionalized story of a ground-breaking event in both aviation history and women’s history.
Rather than create a by-the-books biography of Amelia Earhart’s life, Taylor offers readers something more valuable: hope. Taylor shows us the inspiration that Earhart engendered both in her own time period and today through the eyes of two women–astronaut Eileen Collins, who writes the introduction, and the main character Grace. Grace wants, needs, to be a reporter, but she must constantly fight against people who assume she is too young and, more damning, too female. Earhart is also familiar with these prejudices, but refuses to let them stop her from achieving what she wants, needs, to accomplish. By using historical fiction instead of a typical children’s biography, Taylor makes Amelia less of a mythical figure and more of a real woman, albeit a strong, determined one. And Grace, who is a typical young teen girl, is the perfect stand-in for the reader’s own hopes, frustrations, and fears.
Both Towle and Taylor allow their story to build slowly with plenty of space where needed….
Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
Author: Sarah Stewart Taylor, Illustrator: Ben Towle
Disney/Hyperion Books, February 2010