By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
96 pages / ISBN 9781481449380
Atheneum Books for Young Readers / May 2016
YOU CAN FLY: THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN is the first collaboration between award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford and her son, debut illustrator Jeffery Boston Weatherford. An innovative history in verse, the book marks the 75th anniversary of the so-called “Tuskegee Experiment” which challenged racist notions that blacks were unfit to fly. Through poignant poems and striking scratchboard illustrations, YOU CAN FLY depicts the pioneering pilots, mechanics, navigators, bombardiers and nurses as well as celebrities, historical figures and racial barriers of the day.
The Tuskegee Airmen began training at Moton Airfield in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, in 1941. In 200 of their 205 combat missions, the pilots did not lose a bomber. They were awarded more than 900 medals and became a respected fighter squadron, paving the way for full integration of the armed forces in 1948. The Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
*Weatherford again wields the power of poetry to tell a gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations by her son, making a notable debut.—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
*Weatherford’s skill with language provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men. A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
[A]uthentic voices and hard truths. [T]he book offers a more personal connection to the men and their ideas and feelings through poems . . . .– School Library Journal
The narrative voice draws readers into the action, addressing them directly and inviting them to imagine themselves into this ground-breaking role . . . this title is particularly well adapted to classroom use, where language arts and history students can share common air space.– Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
ART FROM THE BOOK (click image to enlarge)
May 14, 2016 / African American Children’s Book Festival / Reginald Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture / Baltimore, MD
May 31, 2016 / Politics and Prose Bookstore / Washington, DC
June 11, 2016 / Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival / Easton, MD / June 15, 2016
June 15, 2016 / The Regulator Bookstore / Durham, NC
November 13 2016 / Cumberland County Public Library Headquarters / Fayetteville, NC
PHOTOS (click image to enlarge)
Left: Jeffery Weatherford with “Tuskegee Airmen” portrait at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, Dowell, MD, 2016.
Center: Carole and Jeffery, c. 2000
Right: Jeffery and Carole at Howard University Art Gallery