Disclosure: I received a free copy and compensation for this post, regardless, all opinions are my own and reflect my own experiences with the book.
I think it is so important to get our children interested and excited about reading. I read with my daughter at least once a day. We have a stack of books in a show box that we leave by her bed on the floor and we choose one to read each night before bed. We add new books to the pile all the time and put older ones on the bookshelf and pull them back out after we haven’t read them in awhile. Now, we have a new one in our rotation – “Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic” by Alan Biermann with illustrations by Yaejin Lim.
On October 14, 1947, Captain Chuck Yeager of the United States Air Force flew the specially built X-1 rocket plane through the sound barrier and brought the world of aviation into a new era. Previous to that time, many airplanes had approached the speed of sound only to be horribly shaken by mysterious forces and sometimes even destroyed. Captain Yeager undertook a series of flights into the unknown as he flew faster and faster until the seeming miracle of supersonic speed was achieved. With the knowledge that engineers gathered from the Yeager and later test flights, they were able to build a whole new generation of military fighters and other aircraft that could fly at speeds well above the speed of sound.
We have written a book, “Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic,” that describes the life of Captain Yeager growing up, entering the military and becoming a pilot, transitioning to become a test pilot, and finally being chosen to fly the very dangerous X-1 flights at faster and faster speeds. The reader will experience the thrill of these sequential stages which lead to bursting through the powerful pressure wave that is the sound barrier. The book is written for early readers, first grade through the third grade, and aims to introduce a new generation to the incredible story of this great American hero. It can be purchased for $9.72 from Amazon.com, just click here to order.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR
Alan Biermann’s father was in the airplane propeller business and he was around airplanes a lot in his early years. When he was in high school and college, he spent most summers working in the propeller factory assembling propellers for single and twin engine airplanes. He became a sailplane pilot in college and eventually flew many flights at El Mirage dry lake bed on the Mojave Desert near where Captain Yeager (now General Yeager) flew many of his record breaking flights. The story of the breaking of the sound barrier has been one of his favorites for his whole life and he is now enjoying getting it out to the young people of the world.
He was a professor of computer science at Duke University for most of his career. His research area was artificial intelligence and he received grants and published many papers in this field. He also wrote a general textbook in computer science entitled Great Ideas in Computer Science which was published by The MIT Press in 1990, 1997, and a third edition, with coauthor, Dietolf Ramm, in 2002. Professor Biermann is a Fellow in the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and in the Association for Computing Machinery and a past President of the Association for Computational Linguistics.
Yaejin Lim is a painter, illustrator, and art educator. She studied painting, drawing, and illustration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rhode Island School of Design and art education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Creating children’s books is a perfect way for her to employ her artistic talent and passion for art education. Yaejin lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband, Alexey Gorshkov. Her website is .
I was so excited about receiving this book because I have always been fascinated with Chuck Yeager for several reasons. For one, I am a little bit of a history buff and have always been amazed with Chuck Yeager’s accomplishments. Another thing that has always attracted me to Chuck Yeager’s story is that he hails from West Virginia. And seeing as I was born and raised in West Virginia, this has certainly drawn me into the story of Chuck Yeager and his life and accomplishments. And you can read all about it in the fabulous book. I loved reading it with my daughter. She was so happy when she heard that Chuck Yeager was from her home state. She loved hearing about all of his trips in his jet. And she also loves all of the illustration in the book. At night, when we prepared to read a book the very next day, she wanted to read this book again. The book is still in our rotation with the rest of our books in the shoe box and I figure we will read many more times in the next few months.
Even if you and your child are not history buffs or familiar with the story of Chuck Yeager, you and your child will still love this book. It takes you through the life of Chuck Yeager and all of his amazing feats. I was also lucky enough to ask the author of this amazing book, Alan Biermann, a few questions…
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR
I was lucky enough to get to ask the author, Alan Biermann, a few questions. I asked him what inpsired him to write tho book. He said : I raised two children, a daughter and a son. I read them a million books over the years as they went through their various stages. I noticed at some point that they really took an extra interest in books that were true stories and I looked for them in the stores. But there were very few. I had grown up in a household where aviation was very important. My dad was in the airplane propeller business and I went out to the local airport with him very often when I was young. They would be testing the newest propeller and I would watch the work and look at the other planes around. So I tried to find some airplane books to read to my kids, especially my son, and found the Wright brothers story. But it was the only aviation based true story for kids that I could find.
The great thing about reading true stories is that they keep coming back in interesting ways as you grow older. Maybe the places or events will come up. And you will remember the story you read and make a connection that is very satisfying. In the case of Chuck Yeager, he is so famous he is bound to be mentioned from time to time as people talk about the history of aviation, or there is often mention of Edwards Air Force Base, or there will be planes developed that break the sound barrier, and other things. If you read a true story, it ties in with other experiences in life and is very rewarding as those relationships are discovered.
Among the many aviation stories that I was reading in those days, the most exciting one and the one that seemed most appropriate for kids was that of Chuck Yeager. So I thought many times that if I ever had some free time, I should consider writing such a book. And when I retired, I went to work, joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and began developing my manuscript.
He also said that he would recommend that if you as an adult would like to read one of the most exciting biographies of the 20th century, you should get a copy of the Chuck Yeager autobiography and he will guarantee that you will be very moved by the story that you read. He feels it is one of the greatest stories of the 20th century.
I also asked him what he hopes that kids reading his book will learn from it and he said that they will learn the excitement of this one very adventurous person. They will get some true aviation stories that they can relate to when they see an airplane fly over or when their parents take them on an airplane trip. They will read about Chuck’s education and the importance of education for people who want to succeed. Some kids want to learn how to fly an airplane and some of the most central things are given in the glossary: the control wheel; pulling back to climb and pushing forward to dive and turning to one side to bank the plane for a turn. Kids can pick these things up and then do them in their games. He said he has had many parents tell him about going to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and seeing the X-1 plane and how much it meant to their kids. Some airplanes are going to be coming out in future years that break the sound barrier. These kids will know all about it. They will be explaining to their friends how sound works and whey there is a sound barrier and why it is so dangerous.
Do you know a kid (or an adult) that would love to read this book?