Book - 2008
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Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy's gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots - and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of 'passing,' of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one's racial heritage, denying one's family, denying one's self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.

Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2008.
ISBN: 9780399247095
Branch Call Number: SMITH
Characteristics: 275 p. ; 22 cm.


From Library Staff

During WW2, a light-skinned Black girl chooses to pass herself off as white in order to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots and follow her dreams of flying, like her father.

From the critics

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Jan 31, 2020

When I first chose to read Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, I was expecting a different account of the classic WWII stories we hear about in class. It did not disappoint. The historical fiction novel follows the story of an African American woman, Ida Mae Jones, with a passion for flying. She had a dream of becoming a pilot like her late father, but due to discrimination, she was unable to pursue that dream. Until she faked a license and pretended to be a white woman, that is. Ida Mae was then able to join the WASP, or Women’s Air Service Pilots, but at the expense of her real life, family, and true self, as she faced discrimination and faked her race. She is then forced to deal with the effects of these things while trying to focus on her main task: helping her country during the war. I liked how although the book takes place during a World War, something we read and hear a lot of, this story took on a different perspective of the event and taught me about the WASP (which I had never heard of prior). One thing I did not like as much was that the stories told of training at the bases seemed to lack the depth of what it would really entail, and those sections of the book almost seemed rushed, making it boring. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and its message. On page 215, Ida Mae’s grandfather said, “You see, we all have our nature at the core of everything we do. There’s no changing it, no matter how we try. That’s why… you have to fly, no matter what it takes.” This shows that through Ida Mae’s story, Sherri L. Smith teaches readers that they should follow their dreams diligently, as nothing is more important than who they really are inside. This makes the novel encouraging and inspirational and allows it to connect to all readers. If you enjoy historical fiction novels that feature empowerment and passion with a strong female lead, this book is for you.

Aug 13, 2012

I honestly didn't think I'd like the book when I first picked it up. But I was wrong. This is an amazing book and it taught me a lot. Including that not all historical fictions are boring!:)

Jul 10, 2012

Nice historical fiction read for readers 12 and up. Ida Mae Jones is an African American girl from Lousiana with light skin who passes for white in order to become a WASP (Women's Airforce Service Piolt). She faces the difficulty of being black and a woman during WWII.

Jun 20, 2012

This is a wonderful book and a fun read. I really enjoyed learning about the WASP, and Ida Mae's story is full of entertaining subplots in addition to the main plot - trying to become a WASP without anyone finding out that she's colored.

There is a touch of romance, which was nice, although it was left kind of unended and you never really learn what happens with that.

Other than that I found this a really enjoyable book!

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