Me and the Sky: Captain Beverley Bass, Pioneering Pilot

by Beverley Bass (Author) Joanie Stone (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The groundbreaking female pilot featured in the hit Broadway musical Come from Away tells her story in this high-flying and inspiring picture-book autobiography!

When Beverley Bass was a young girl in the late 1950s, she told her parents she wanted to fly planes--and they told her that girls couldn't be pilots. Still, they encouraged her, and brought her to a nearby airport to watch the planes take off and land. After decades of refusing to take no for an answer, in 1986 Beverley became the first female pilot promoted to captain by American Airlines and led the first all-female crewed flight shortly thereafter. Her revolutionary career became even more newsworthy when she was forced to land in the remote town of Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001, due to US airspace closures. After several days there, she flew her crew and passengers safely home. Beverley's incredible life is now immortalized in the hit Broadway musical Come from Away. Here, discover how she went from an ambitious young girl gazing up at the sky to a groundbreaking pilot smiling down from the cockpit.

"Inspiring and up, up, and away all the way."--Kirkus

"An inspiring biography about one woman's determination to forge a new path."--Booklist

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-Bass, who'd always wanted to fly, overcame sexism and gender discrimination in the 1980s to become a commercial airline pilot. Bass and her coauthor, narrating in the third person, open with young Beverley's repeated attempts to fly off the family washing machine. They remind readers of this determination throughout their chronicle of one woman's persistence. The youngster convinced an aunt to take her to the airport to watch planes. After high school, Bass "drove herself" there to take flying lessons; soon she was flying for real. She took pilot jobs that men didn't want until she was finally hired by American Airlines, eventually attaining a captain's wings. An afterword describes further achievements; the astonishing hospitality in Newfoundland, whose inhabitants welcomed Captain Bass and her passengers as well as those of 37 other airliners who could not enter American airspace after the destruction of the World Trade Center; the musical version of that story, Come from Away; and the founding of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Stone's digitally created illustrations, ranging from vignettes to double-page spreads, show the world of a mid-20th-century Good Housekeeping magazine, albeit more integrated. One spread depicts the dashboard of the plane, Bass's hands on the controls, and puffy clouds in the blue sky in front of her. VERDICT A solid account of breaking through gender barriers. Readers can easily imagine the thrill and the challenge of mastering the increasingly complex technology of larger and larger commercial jetliners.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Beverley Bass
Beverley Bass is a retired pilot who spent decades flying for American Airlines and was their first female captain. She is the founder of a nonprofit that empowers female aviators around the world, and continues to work with them. She also actively supports the musical Come from Away. She tweets from @jetsflygirl.

Joanie Stone was born and raised in Virginia, where she still lives today with her husband and young daughter. She uses her background in traditional hand-drawn animation to bring life and movement to her characters and fills her images with textures reminiscent of children's books from the past. She is also the illustrator of the Sing Your Colors! series. Learn more about Joanie online at or on Instagram at @JoanieStoneArt.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF051010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Technology | Aeronautics, Astronautics & Space Science
JNF057010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Transportation | Aviation
Library of Congress categories

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