Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride,written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick is a fictionalized account of a trip taken by Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, though almost all of the dialogue came from newspaper accounts, book transcripts, and diaries. It’s a wonderful story with captivating black and white drawings of an evening with these two famous women, capturing a moment in history when flying was in its infancy. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve come to take long distance flights for granted.
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride starts with dinner at the White House (requests for tours of the White House can be submitted up to six months in advance). During dinner, the conversation turns to flying and Eleanor and Amelia decide to take a flight to Baltimore and back to see the stars. In real life, the plane was mostly flown by pilots from Eastern Airlines, though Amelia and Eleanor both took a turn piloting. In the story, it’s just the two women together flying over the Potomac River, past the capitol dome, Chesapeake Bay, and the National Mall and on their return, sneaking off for a fast car ride though the city. The story ends back at the White House and includes a recipe for Eleanor’s favorite dessert.
My son enjoyed the story and it provided fodder for several discussions. He had trouble conceiving of a time when flying was novel and didn’t understand why it would be unusual for women to fly planes or drive cars! The author’s note provides more historical context and we’ll certainly stop and see the plane that Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Atlantic when we’re in D.C.