Abigail Packard


Excellent, Primary, Intermediate, Julie Cummins, Marlene R. Laugesen, Aviation, Women, Pilots, Nonfiction, Biography, Ruth Elder, Picture Book

Document Type

Book Review


Flying Solo: How Ruth Elder Soared into America’s Heart is a nonfiction picture book that illustrates Ruth Elder’s adventures as one of the first female pilots. She was the first woman to attempt to fly across the Atlantic, even before Amelia Earhart. Unfortunately, her plane malfunctioned and she was forced to land on the ocean. She was rescued by a ship which brought her to France. Despite her failed attempt, she was hailed as a heroine for her “daredevil feat” and became famous. She later starred as an actress in several western films but decided to revisit the world of aviation again. She participated in the first ever women’s cross-country air race, later called a “powder puff derby.” She came in fifth place behind Louise Thaden and other women whose time as pilots was influential in opening doors to the world of aviation to women in later generations.