Monday, January 17, 2011

Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream.

Today we honor him and his dream.

Wing Flyers is the story of another man who also had a dream. His dream was to fly and his story is told by his young and very proud nephew, who now shares his love of flying. It is interesting that we never learn the names of uncle and nephew, making it feel like a collective honor for all the men who were part of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

His uncle had wanted to fly from the time he was a little boy. He tried to fly at the age of 7 by jumping off the barn and flapping his arms like a bird.

At 11, he paid 75¢ to a barnstormer for a ride. Eventually, his uncle became a Tuskegee Airmen. In 1941, the US Air Force created the 99th Pursuit Squadron. This was their first squadron made up entirely of African-America men. In 1942, the 332nd Fighter Group was formed (three squadrons form a group.) Training these men t become pilots took place in Tuskegee, Alabama, where everything had to be built from scratch or brought in because segregation was still in effect in the south.

This is a beautiful book. There is minimal text, yet so much is conveyed. Much of that is in conjunction with the outstanding artwork by Loren Long. It is also an excellent book to use as a springboard for introducing younger readers to the Tuskegee Airmen and their outstanding history.

The story of the Wind Flyers is proof that dreams can come true.

This book is recommended for readers age 5-8
This book was borrowed from the 97th Street Branch of the NYPL

Wind Flyers received the follow well-deserved awards
Bank Street Best Books of the Year
Delaware Diamonds Award Program Master List
Emphasis on Reading Program Master List (AL)

More information on Wind Flyers may be found at Wind Flyers
and at Wind Flyers (yes, they are different sites)

An excellent source for more information on the Tuskegee Airmen may be found on their website at Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

The Tuskegee Airmen served as escort planes, escorting bombers and as the narrator’s uncle tells him, they never lost a plane they were escorting. That is the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen flew over 3,000 missions in Europe and destroyed hundreds of enemy aircraft.

The Tuskegee Airmen were give the following awards for the achievements in World War II
150 Distinguished Flying Crosses earned
744 Air Medals
8 Purple Hearts
14 Bronze Stars

More information on Martin Luther King, Jr. may be found at Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University

Dr, King’s complete “I Have a Dream Speech” may be seen and heard at YouTube: I Have a Dream Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Activities may be found at Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Activities


  1. Great review, Alex. I must check this book out. I'm fascinated by your blog's focus - what a fantastic resource for teachers, writers or anyone interested about World War II.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Sheri. I am hoping this blog will be a good resource.