The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
List Price: $19.99*
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From the acclaimed author of The Great and Only Barnum—as well as The Lincolns, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin's Almanac—comes the thrilling story of America's most celebrated flyer, Amelia Earhart.
In alternating chapters, Fleming deftly moves readers back and forth between Amelia's life (from childhood up until her last flight) and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. With incredible photos, maps, and handwritten notes from Amelia herself—plus informative sidebars tackling everything from the history of flight to what Amelia liked to eat while flying (tomato soup)—this unique nonfiction title is tailor-made for middle graders.
Amelia Lost received four starred reviews and Best Book of the Year accolades from School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book Magazine, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
I told such a good story that people always thought I was telling the truth. But I wasn't. I didn't have a three-legged cat or a ghost in my attic, and I'd certainly never been to Paris, France. I simply enjoyed telling a good story . . . and seeing my listener's reaction.
Sure, some people might have said I was a seven-year-old fibber. But not my parents. Instead of calling my stories "fibs" they called them "imaginative." They encouraged me to put my stories down on paper. I did. And amazingly, once I began writing, I couldn't stop. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, poems, plays. I still have many of those notebooks. They're precious to me because they are a record of my writing life from elementary school on.
In second grade, I discovered a passion for language. I can still remember the day my teacher, Ms. Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mache pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word "cornucopia." I said it again and again. I tasted the word on my lips. I tested it on my ears. That afternoon, I skipped all the way home from school chanting "Cornucopia! Cornucopia!" From then on, I really began listening to words -- to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful and yet told a story.
As I grew, I continued to write stories. But I never really thought of becoming an author. Instead, I went to college, where I discovered yet another passion -- history. I didn't realize it then, but studying history was really just an extension of my love of stories. After all, some of the best stories are true ones -- tales of heroism and villainy made more incredible by the fact they really happened.
After graduation, I got married and had children. I read to them a lot, and that's when I discovered the joy and music of children's books. I simply couldn't get enough of them. With my two sons in tow, I made endless trips to the library. I read stacks of books. I found myself begging, "Just one more, pleeeease!" while my boys begged for lights-out and sleep. Then it struck me. Why not write children's books? It seemed the perfect way to combine all the things I loved -- stories, musical language, history, and reading. I couldn't wait to get started.
But writing children's books is harder than it sounds. For three years, I wrote story after story. I sent them to publisher after publisher. And I received rejection letter after rejection letter. Still, I didn't give up. I kept trying until finally one of my stories was pulled from the slush pile and turned into a book. My career as a children's author had begun.
Candace Fleming lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois.
Jessica Hische is a letterer and illustrator based in San Francisco. Forbes has twice recognized her in its annual 30 Under 30 list in the art and design category.
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2011:
"Handwritten notes, photos, maps and inquisitive sidebars (What did Earhart eat during flight? Tomato juice and chocolate) complete this impeccably researched, appealing package. A stunning look at an equally stunning lady."
Starred Review, The Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2011:
"The book’s structure and scope, along with the story’s inherent drama, provide a taut, cinematic backdrop for the history of Earhart’s doomed flight."
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2011:
"Ho-hum history? Not in Fleming’s apt hands. What could be a dry recitation of facts and dates is instead a gripping and suspenseful thriller...This book is splendid. Hand it to everyone."
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2011:
"Fleming cleverly structures this biography to give the tale of tragedy a fresh and dreadful impact...As a result, this offers not only a provocative introduction to Earhart but also compelling glimpse of what it was like to watch her disappear from the world."