Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday
Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!
Flying Cars: The True Story
Author: Andrew Glass
Published August 25th, 2015 by Clarion Books
Goodreads Summary: Humans have always wanted to fly. As soon as there were planes and cars, many people saw a combination as the next step for personal transportation, and visionary engineers and inventors did their best to make the flying car (or the roadable plane) a reality. This book is a breezy account of hybrid vehicles and their creators, and of the intense drive that kept bringing inventors back to the drawing board despite repeated failures and the dictates of common sense. Illustrated with archival photos, this entertaining survey takes readers back as far as Icarus and forward into the present day, with a look toward the future. Includes author’s note, source notes, bibliography, index.
Kellee’s Review: What an odd, interesting part of history! I had no idea I even wanted to learn about this, but I am glad that I was exposed to it. I think Andrew Glass did a good job mixing history of aviation in general and the idea of a flying car. It was a good combination of informational and literary nonfiction, so it will hold readers’ attention throughout. It was also fascinating to see all of the photographs of the prototypes made over time. What innovation! I think the photos will draw the reader in then the history and stories will keep them there.
Ricki’s Review: The minute I pulled this book out of the mailer, my son had his hands all over it. He is much younger than the intended audience (middle or high school), but it made me chuckle. This shows how excited students will be about this concept! Like Kellee, I had no idea that flying cars existed. I asked my husband, “Did this really exist?” He launched into a full history lesson about the development about flying cars and said they were very interesting to him as a teenager. This is yet more proof that this book would be a great resource for classrooms. I liked learning about all of the different attempts of flying cars and think this book would inspire students to be innovative in their thinking, particularly in the context of design and engineering. The prototypes made me feel a bit wistful that I had more of an engineering brain!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The trend of readable and interesting middle grade nonfiction that students will find accessible is really increasing the likelihood of students reading nonfiction text, and this text fits that bill. We think students will find the topic interesting and, thus, pick up the book. Teachers could use it to talk about text features and the importance of captions, photographs, and chapter titles as well as look at how the book is structured and discuss why the author decided to set it up the way it is. The book could also be a resource for an inquiry mini-project (see Discussion Questions below).
Discussion Questions: How would flying cars make our lives easier?; Why aren’t flying cars a reality?; What do you think the benefits of flying cars are and what are the struggles?; After watching some of the archival videos, which of the flying cars interests you the most? Use Flying Cars and other resources to learn more about it.
We Flagged: “Cars fly every day–in fantasy. They soar by pure magic, like the Wesley family car in the Harry Potter series, or by sprouting wings, like Chitty Chitty Ban Bang. Some use high-tech gadgetry, allowing well-equipped heroes like James Bond and Batman to make incredible cliffhanger escapes.
But visionary engineers and inventors haven’t just imagine flying cars. Some actually built them. . . and then drove them up into the sky” (p. 1).
Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books about aviation or automobiles including Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
**Thank you to Barbara for providing copies for review!**