Skyward

The Story of Female Pilots in WWII

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Hazel, growing up in the 1920s and 30s in San Francisco, is taken to the local airfield every Saturday by her aircraft-mad father, who plants the seed in her mind that she might one day be able to fly a plane. In England, Marlene gets the bug for flying from her brother, and, in Russia, Lilya begins a lifetime love of flying when an aircraft crash lands in a field near her house.

Yet, when World War Two starts in 1939, governments were reluctant to let women pilot planes, even though there weren’t enough male pilots to go around. Finally, the US, British and Russian governments all instigated programmes that allowed women to fly in the war, and Hazel, Marlene and Lilya are relocated for training, learning how to pilot a variety of different aircraft and fly at night.

This slightly fictionalised version of the experiences of female pilots in World War Two is a fascinating read in terms of untold history – especially the heroic women of colour, who were flying life-threatening missions as well as combating racism on the ground. 

It's also an inspiring and heartwarming story of the close bonds pioneer female pilots formed with each other at a pivotal moment in history. Brilliant.

Share this page with your friends

More books like this

The Children of Willesden Lane

Author: Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen

Aspiring concert pianist Lisa Jura is just 14 when she is forced to leave Germany behind and travel to England on the Kindertransport. Told by her daughter Mona, it's an eye-opening insight into life as a young refugee during World War Two.

Read more about The Children of Willesden Lane

Walter Tull's Scrapbook

Author: Michaela Morgan

Discover the fascinating true story of footballer and World War I officer Walter Tull in this highly visual scrapbook.

Read more about Walter Tull's Scrapbook