Each year on August 19th is National Aviation Day, when we celebrate aviation and aviators, men and women who fly airplanes, helicopters and more! But many times important aviators that changed history are forgotten. However, In the picture book “When I Grow Up I Want to be Like the Brave Men of Tuskegee“ honors the brave African-American pilots who fought in World War II and were known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The book is a story about a young boy who loves airplanes, whose father reads him books about the Tuskegee airmen. In the book, children learn:
- The Tuskegee airmen came from 29 different states across the United States, including 16 from Omaha, Nebraska.
- In 1947, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt rode with the Tuskegee Airmen in a trip across to show America that they were as safe and experienced as white pilots.
- 992 pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute program.
The book is appropriate for all ages, and focuses not on the racism the pilots faced, but rather the great accomplishments the Airmen achieved. Children also learn the names of of other African-American pilots including Bessie Coleman and James Banning.
“When I Grow Up I Want to be Like the Brave Men of Tuskegee“ is a great book that focuses on a positive aspect of African-American history that also instills in young black children that they are capable of achieving great things. For more information on the Tuskegee Airmen, visit tuskegeeairmen.org.
Looking for some fun and educational aviation activities? CalicoKidz.com has you covered! Download and print the 52-page High Flyers Activity Book from on NASA.gov, or these cool coloring sheets from The National Naval Aviation Museum. Also, the Federal Aviation Administration website has activities including aviation bingo, instructions on how to make a windmill, paper airplane or even a parachute! Find that and more at FAA.gov/education/students/activities/elementary/. Go forth and fly!