Article Title

Night Witches


Cynthia Frazier


Excellent, Intermediate, Young Adult, World War II, women pilots, Russia, Siege of Stalingrad, historical fiction

Document Type

Book Review


It is 1942 and Russia is being invaded by Germany. The city of Stalingrad is besieged and bombings continue day and night. Valya’s family is dead or fighting in the war, leaving only one thing to do. Valya sets off to find her sister Tatyana’s regiment, thinking that she can become a pilot also. After harrowing experiences, she finds her sister’s unit and joins them in their work of targeting Nazi supply lines and fuel dumps. The planes they fly are slower and lighter than fighter planes and can only hold six bombs at a time. Each plane flies up to eight missions a night, stealthily maneuvering through the air like witches on their brooms - Night Witches, as the German soldiers call them. Valya is faced with the most desperate task of her young life when Tatyana’s plane goes down in German territory.