Sophie Takes to the Sky

Publisher: Little Gems (Barrington Stoke)

This engaging tale about a fictional event in the childhood of Sophie Blanchard, an 18th-century French balloonist, imagines what could have led her on the path to becoming one of the world’s first female aeronauts.

Timid young Sophie is scared of everything, from loud noises and dark cellars to mice, spiders and the neighbour’s cat. When a fair comes to town, Sophie is thrilled to discover that the star attraction is a hot-air balloon, but can she overcome her fears to attend the crowded, noisy fair and witness its graceful flight?

Published by Barrington Stoke, this series of books is specifically designed to reduce barriers to reading. Thick pages ensure words and pictures don’t show through to confuse the eye and short chapters break the tale into manageable sections for children who may find long paragraphs of text intimidating.

The warm, earthy tones of the inviting illustrations, on every page, evoke a sense of time and place and beautifully provide children with visual prompts to help them understand Sophie’s struggle to overcome her fears. With a short biography and information about other pioneering women of flight, this charming tale will inspire young people to follow their dreams.

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