Books, History, Science/Math

PPBF: The Daring Miss Quimby



AUTHOR: Suzanne George Whitaker

ILLUSTRATOR: Catherine Stock

PUBLICATION INFO: Holiday House, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1996-8

SOURCE:  library


GENRE: nonfiction picture book, history


“Harriet Quimby was the picture of a modern American woman of 1912.”

From the publisher:

“In 1912, airplanes looked like bicycles with wings and only men flew these new machines. When the spirited young woman, Harriet Quimby, decided to learn to fly, everyone said it would be too dangerous. But Harriet tried it anyway. Soon the whole country was just wild about this daring woman, dressed in her special purple satin flight suit, who flew through the skies to become the first woman in the United States to earn her pilot’s license and fly across the English Channel.”

THEMES/TOPICS: women’ history, aviation, biography

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: What’s not to love about Harriet Quimby? While most women of her day sported corsets and long dresses, she donned a shiny purple flight suit. She also drove fast cars, wrote for magazines, and enjoyed adventure after adventure in the days before women could even vote. Whitaker’s book conveys Harriet’s spirit and zest for life in an age-appropriate way. And Stock’s watercolor images are simply heavenly.


  • Whitaker includes an in-depth author’s note and women in aviation timeline. See an online timeline here.
  • Kids can learn about the science of flight at the National Air and Space Museum’s “How Things Fly” website.
  • NASA has a number of aeronautics educator resources on its website.
  • Why not build your own paper airplane? Try different designs and see which flies the best.

You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!

26 thoughts on “PPBF: The Daring Miss Quimby”

  1. I love your choice. I remember seeing Harriet Quimby in the Womens’ Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton. Glad to see a PB about her. And, women didn’t wear pants then either. I just love the books you find that make learning interesting — especially heroes. My favorite as a child was Madame Curie.

  2. This is a great choice. There are getting to be more and more non-fiction picture books, and I love that. Thanks for telling me about this one.

  3. I bet if you were born in 1900 you would have given Harriet a run for her money (purple satin and all!). This does look like the portrait of another fascinating woman in history.

      1. I make the same association between Holiday House and Phyllis – isn’t that funny?
        Great book – you know with such a fabulous name she was going to be a fabulous woman!

  4. This does sound like an interesting book about an interesting lady. I will, of course, have to find it immediately. I am in love with Catherine Stock’s work. I secretly want to BE her 😉

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