Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane

Press Kit–


Awards for WOOD, WIRE, WINGS:

“This inspiring work shines a light on a lesser-known inventor who was the first woman to design an airplane. An excellent purchase for public and elementary school biography collections.” — School Library Journal

“In tribute to the hands-on spirit of all inventors— but especially women—Larson profiles a little-known, self-taught engineer who designed a working aircraft that improved upon the Wright brothers’ model. In windswept digital watercolors, Subisak depicts her as an active, confident figure. Back matter… includes a comprehensive source list and a general time line of aviation in the Wright era. Todd herself was not a pilot, but her story pairs naturally with those about the first generations of female aviators.” — Booklist 

About the Book

Wood, Wire, Wings

By Kirsten W. Larson

Illustrated by Tracy Subisak

Calkins Creek


Ages: 7 to 10

Pub date: Feb. 25, 2020

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This riveting nonfiction picture book biography explores both the failures and successes of self-taught engineer Emma Lilian Todd as she tackles one of the greatest challenges of the early 1900s: designing an airplane.

Emma Lilian Todd’s mind was always soaring–she loved to solve problems. Lilian tinkered and fiddled with all sorts of objects, turning dreams into useful inventions. As a child, she took apart and reassembled clocks to figure out how they worked. As an adult, typing up patents at the U.S. Patent Office, Lilian built the inventions in her mind, including many designs for flying machines. However, they all seemed too impractical. Lilian knew she could design one that worked. She took inspiration from both nature and her many failures, driving herself to perfect the design that would eventually successfully fly. Illustrator Tracy Subisak‘s art brings to life author Kirsten W. Larson’s story of this little-known but important engineer.