Read Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes Barry Moser Earl B. Lewis Online


Soar along with Bessie Coleman in this inspirational tale of a woman whose determination reached new heights.Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman was always being told what she could & couldn't do. In an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, it was not easy to survive. Bessie didn't let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took thSoar along with Bessie Coleman in this inspirational tale of a woman whose determination reached new heights.Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman was always being told what she could & couldn't do. In an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, it was not easy to survive. Bessie didn't let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she vowed to become the first African -American female pilot. Her sturdy faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination. Innovatively told through a series of monologues....

Title : Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780439352437
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 48 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman Reviews

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-13 16:35

    Talkin’ About Bessie uses a series of “interviews” to tell the story of Bessie Coleman, an African-American aviatrix from the early 1900’s, when few women and fewer African American men or women flew airplanes. Each page spread contains a beautiful watercolor illustration y E. B. Lewis, and a brief “interview” of someone’s recollections of Bessie at various points in her life. Through the words of parents, teachers, siblings, flight instructors, laundry customers and pastors, we learn details about Bessie’s life, her determined personality and the many obstacles she overcame in order to realize her dream of flying. I particularly enjoyed the device of using “interviews” to tell the story because I enjoy the different voices and that Grimes uses to tell her story; it feels a bit like a text version of a “Ken Burns style” of bio-documentary. I was reminded to “practice what I preach” by this book. In the school library, we have a motto of “ Read, think, ask questions, discover.” I found myself guilty of not following any of these actions as I drove past the Bessie Coleman Drive sign near Chicago’s O’Hare Airport many times in the past. Although I have seen the sign multiple times, I did not stop to ask “who was Bessie Coleman and why was her name on an airport road?” This book taught me a Chicago history lesson, and reminded me to follow my own good advice.

  • Ch_kendrachristo
    2019-06-12 15:55

    What a life Bessie Coleman lived! I learned that she started off picking cotton and she was not a fan of manual labor. She knew she wanted to do something extraordinary with her life, she just wasn't sure what. When she decided she would become a pilot, she had an uphill battle ahead of her. Her first challenge was being African American. At that time, it was near impossible for black people to go to college in America. Being female also made things more complicated. To add to her battle, the best place for her to get an education was France and she didn't speak French! Coleman was determined! She took French for a year in America and headed to France and enrolled in college. She learned to fly. She didn't take no for an answer. I think Coleman can teach so many people such a valuable lesson. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything! Students in grades two through five would enjoy Coleman's story.

  • Kathy Garner
    2019-05-21 15:29

    Interviews from people in Bessie's life. Need to preread because the "N" word is use twice. Can work with segregation, Jim Crow laws and women rights.

  • Joan
    2019-06-03 12:31

    The inspirational story of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American / Native American to earn her pilot’s license. Bessie, who was eleven when the Wright Brothers made their first flight, went to France to earn her pilot’s license and played a pioneering role for early pilots, inspiring both African-American and Native American peoples.Innovatively told through a series of monologues, each accompanied by a full-page illustration, the book provides background on Bessie, recounts her accomplishments, and provides Internet resources for further information.Recommended.

  • Erin Buhr
    2019-06-19 18:56

    I absolutely loved the creative way Nikki Grimes chose to tell the story of Bessie Coleman. By sharing her story through the eyes and voices of others you get such a vivid picture of the period of history while you learn about this remarkable woman. Carefully crafted and researched, this is an impressive, compelling and engrossing biography.

  • Desiree Brown
    2019-06-18 11:57

    really a great book, but I would recommend for older children because it is a long read

  • Shel
    2019-06-10 17:33

    Grimes, N. (2002). Talkin’ About Bessie: The story of aviator Elizabeth Coleman. New York: Orchard Books.0439352436Bessie Coleman is quite the amazing historical figure. The day she realized she wanted to become a pilot, she quit her job. She then learned French so she could go to flight school in France. After an accident that grounded her in a hospital, her first plan was to get back up in the air. Bessie is a wonderful role model of dedication.This Coretta Scott King Award winning biographical sketch has a unique frame of including the voices of the first African American female aviator’s family and friends’ voices describing her and the events of her life. The premise is that 20 people in Bessie’s life have gathered for her funeral. What follows are multiple accounts of Bessie as she aged in poetic form—her desire for education, to go North, to find the right career, to fly. The paintings of Talkin' About Bessie are realistic and wonderful. E.B. Lewis included portraits of each person who is “speaking” about Coleman, which is a nice addition.The book would probably need some added support from a teacher if it’s used with a child under third grade to remind the child among the speakers’ connections to Coleman and to explain the historical context.Activities to do with the book:This would be a wonderful recommendation for a student who is interested in black or female trailblazers or interested in aviation. After doing a lesson on the Wright brothers or Amelia Earhart a teacher could easily transition to sharing Coleman’s story.If a teacher were using the book Let It Shine, this would be a wonderful book to share as a shorter alternative with many same themes (achievement, education, service, literacy, etc).On the creative side, students could take on the perspective of others and write poems of what they think those people would think of them. Another option would be to write positive stories about other students’ achievements. Students could also dramatize each eulogizer’s speech to turn the book into a speech project.Favorite Quotes:“The form of the following story is fictional,But the story itself is based on fact.”“When it came to knowledge, Bessie was a miser,hoarding facts and figures like gold coins she wassaving up to spend on something special.”“I haven’t made up my mind about being a pilot,but Bessie made me believe I could be anything.”For more of my reviews, visit

  • Karen
    2019-06-05 14:31

    Talkin' about Bessie is a series of monologues about the famous aviator Elizabeth, Bessie, Coleman. Even though it is stated at the beginning that this is a fictional story, it also states that it is based on facts. I found that this book is more informational than entertaining because of all the facts that I learned about this amazing woman. Elizabeth Coleman was the first licensed female pilot of African descent. She had to break through many different barriers in order for this to happen. First of all, not many women were pilots at this time. Second, separate but equal was still not very equal, so African Americans were not getting the same opportunities. Third, African American women were really not getting many opportunities. Bessie had many other jobs leading up to being an aviator, but her real dream was open a school so other African American women would be able to learn how to fly. The monologues are told from many different perspectives... mother, father, sister, sister-in-law, newspaper reporters, etc. As stated earlier, the story is fictional, but the monologues are based on facts, and Nikki Grimes did a lot of research to make this very informational as well as entertaining. She does include her source material in the back of the book, so that other people can read more about this interesting topic. The illustrations in this book are amazing, and you can easily tell why E.B. Lewis won the Coretta Scott King illustrator award in 2003. Done in watercolor, each page has one small picture of the person who is giving the monologue, and one whole page to a picture that goes well with what that person is talking about. Whether it is about Bessie working in school or Bessie telling stories to children, the pictures are soft and beautiful.I would recommend this book to students in grade 3-5, and especially students who are studying biographies. This would be a great text to analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent which is one of the Commmon Core standards. This would be great because so many people "speak" about their impression of Bessie Coleman, and students could easily compare and contrast the different points of view.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-04 15:53

    Previous to reading this book, I had not even known of Bessie Coleman’s existence. It is a shame that I had never learned about this amazing and important woman. I am so glad that Nikki Grimes and E. B. Lewis came together to produce this enlightening and engaging picture book. This book pays tribute to the vivacious and determined spirit of the first black, female licensed pilot. Through soft, muted, (presumably) watercolor illustrations, E. B. Lewis gives us a glimpse of the world during the early decades of 20th century. In sepia tones the illustrator also provides an image of each character who gives an account of the famous pilot. These small pictures look remarkably like real photographs. The full-page paintings found opposite each account compliment Nikki Grimes’s poetic words, assisting with the telling of the story. It is evident to me why this man has been awarded numerous awards and honors for his illustrations over the years, including the Corretta Scott King Award for this book.Of course the book would be nothing without Nikki Grimes’s engaging, poetic words, for which she won a Coretta Scott King Award Honor. Her decision to tell of Bessie Coleman’s life through the accounts of various people who encountered the young woman is effective. Although the actual accounts are fictional, many of the speakers are based on some of the real people who knew her. Other characters are made-up and simply represent people who could have had experiences with her. This style of writing allows the reader to access the information by becoming part of this Bessie Coleman experience. Far from the dry, detached third-person style of a typical textbook or some biographies, Ms.Grimes’s poetry lives and breathes. People, not an omniscient narrator, let us experience the effects of this vivacious, fearless spirit on the world around her. Although students will never be able to meet this ground-breaking young African-American woman who lived almost a century before them, they will know who she was and her important contributions to the history of African-Americans, women, aviation, and the world.

  • Connie
    2019-06-08 14:46

    Bessie Coleman. Bessie Coleman. Well, Bessie Coleman, the "Queen of the Air", was the first African-American to obtain a pilot's license, and the first American of any race or gender to get an international pilot's license. (This was necessary because black aviators wouldn't teach a woman, and white flight schools wouldn't take a black student, so what was she to do but go overseas?) And she did it a few years before Earheart as well. I had picked up another book about her, Nobody Owns the Sky, but that book was so abysmally bad that I gave it away as soon as I could. It's told in a trite, cloying rhyme. Ugh. So I thought I'd try this book instead.This book is very well-written. You can really get a feel for Bessie's personality, and she's not portrayed as a saintly individual we should all admire because she did everything right. No, she fought to earn every penny as a child picking cotton (even resorting to tampering with the scale if she could get away with it), and she ran away from hard drudgery as fast and as soon as she could, becoming a pilot in part to avoid having to spend any more of her life doing other people's laundry or buffing their nails. She worked hard only as much as she needed to, and not as a goal in and of itself. (And it's just as well. If she'd applied herself to picking cotton or doing laundry instead of learning to fly to get away from that life, well, we would have no book to read.)The story isn't told straight-out, but through the fictionalized reminiscences of people who might have gathered to talk about her. As such, many of the memories are told in non-standard dialect. I don't know how accurate this dialect is. The author is clear at the front of the book that this story is not made of quotations or interviews, it's just a convenient and inviting way to share her information that she got through research.The one thing I'm annoyed about with this book is that it's absolutely not suited for any form of read-aloud at all, and I'm still doing that with my nieces. It's too long. However, I expected that when I bought it.

  • Kayla Davis
    2019-06-17 19:40

    Wow! This was an incredible book! I absolutely loved the way author, Nikki Grimes, told the story in this book! Rather than just list the facts of Elizabeth Coleman's life she tells her story through the account of others! This style of writing really made the book for me! It allows the reader to step inside the shoes of a variety of different people in Bessie's Life and see her as they did. However, while you are getting many different perspectives you are getting a consistent view of Bessie's character and the events of her life. I especially liked that the book puts a face to the names in her accounts; each different account has a small illustration of the person to go with it so you get an idea of who is talking. Although, fictitious, the accounts in the book are based on real people that interacted with Elizabeth Coleman throughout her life and you do not put the book down without a great deal of respect for her tenacity and bravery, remembering the struggle that African-Americans had to overcome. I really liked that the book was able to make this kind of an impression and impact. I felt Bessie's struggle and her determination. The connection was so strong that I was motivated to read the additional information provided at the end of the book (something I don't always do) to discover what happened to her later on in reality. The illustrations in the book pair exquisitely with the story, giving you a visual of Bessie's grit, cleverness, and positive attitude from her time as a youngster until she achieves her dream. A great read for elementary students grades 3 -5! It has a lot of potential across the curriculum including teaching about black history and how women have faced opposition because of both their gender and their skin color. This is also a great book to teach kids that like Bessie Coleman, with determination, they can achieve their dreams, even if it means breaking down barriers of society's ideas about gender specific careers.Grimes, N. (2002). Talkin’ About Bessie. Illus. E.B. Lewis. New York, NY: Orchard Books.

  • Emily Moog
    2019-05-23 17:37

    E. B. Lewis, author of Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman writes from the perspective of those who were closest to Elizabeth Coleman on their observations of this empowering woman. As Elizabeth Coleman ages throughout the book and develops as a woman, adventurer, and plane enthusiast, so does your understanding of the obstacles that Elizabeth Coleman overcomes on her path to becoming an aviator. This is one of the major reasons that I see this book being awarded the Coretta Scott King Award. The Coretta Scott King award is given to books that have an African American author and illustrator and show black experience as well as have the qualities of a well-written book and well-made illustrations. The story line included such hardships in Elizabeth Coleman’s life as the racist thoughts and actions of white laundry customers, the sexist views of the majority of aviation schools, and the difficulty of living a humble, or even poor life. These difficult circumstances in Elizabeth Coleman’s life told a story far beyond just one woman’s life. They depicted parts of the history of segregation, sexism, and economic trials. As the requirements of the Coretta Scott King Award suggest, the words and pictures displayed should portray black experience; and beautifully so, E. B. Lewis and Nikki Grimes, the illustrator of Talkin’ About Bessie have done. The illustrations are watercolor in nature with outlines to define the objects being shown. Each illustration gives life to certain stories each character shares and tells the greater story of who Elizabeth Coleman truly was. The letter style of writing is unique to literature, especially to children's literature. It's as if you are picking the brains of people who knew Bessie. This style drives the feeling of truth and genuine knowledge of Elizabeth Coleman's life.

  • Karissa Kelly
    2019-06-02 19:57

    Talkin' About Bessie is a story based on the life of Elizabeth Coleman. She grew up in Waxahachie, Texas with her mother and sisters working in the cotton fields. She hated picking cotton, but she did enjoy keeping up with the numbers for cotton. Elizabeth was good at math and did people's laundry just to go to school. But Bessie wanted more, so when her brother invited her down to Chicago, she couldn't resist. She worked at a nail salon and one day her brother teased her and said she would never fly an airplane and just work on nails. Bessie took that as a challenge. Thus, she went to France, learned how to speak French, and started taking pilot lessons. Bessie Coleman became the first African-American woman to fly an airplane. She died at age 34 while doing a stunt with her co-pilot. Before that though, she inspired many girls and African-Americans to follow their dreams. I really liked this book. The writer, Nikki Grimes wrote the book from different perspectives of people in Bessie's life. I thought that was really cool because it made the book very interesting, and I wanted to know who would speak next. Also, the illustrator, E.B. Lewis drew beautiful pages completely filled in that I thought really added to the book and showed the reader what things looked like back then. I definitely recommend reading this book. It is a harder read because of the broken language, but the broken English really adds to the story and gives a glimpse of how they probably talked because education was unavailable. I really found this story inspiring, and I would want to share Bessie Coleman's bravery and nonsense attitude with my students.

  • Colin
    2019-05-28 13:29

    This book is a Coretta Scott King Award winner and falls into the historical fiction category. The author starts off with, "the form of the following story is fictional, but the story itself is based on fact." The story is about Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, she was the first female African American licensed pilot. The story is told from multiple perspectives from Elizabeth's Colemans' family. It reads as a biography which could be used in the upper primary grades as students are learning about biographys. The story shows the leaps and bounds that Ms. Coleman had to cross to reach her dream of becoming a licensed pilot. The illustrations in this book are very detailed and add to the tone of the text. Another use of this book would be as a motivational text, here is this women at this time, who is African American that has to jump all these hurdles to reach her dream. A message that students can connect to. At the back of the book, Nikki Grimes, the author includes a short factual biography of Elizabeth Coleman and an explanation of how the story is written through the perspectives of Elizabeth's relatives and friends.I enjoyed this book. Is it a book I must have? NO. Would I consider using it in a classroom? You bet I would.

  • Nancy
    2019-06-05 12:44

    Published: 2002, Orchard BooksAge: 7 and upThis is the story of Bessie Coleman, the first black woman aviator. It is told as if her friends, family, and others are at her funeral and they are each reminiscing about her. They speak chronologically and in free verse. On each page is a sepia tone portrait and name of the person speaking. On the facing pages of the poems are full page watercolor illustrations by E.B. White that show Coleman at moments in her life from a toddler to the time she died. The pictures beautifully reflect the verse which is written in the dialect that the people writing them would use. The speakers tell about the many obstacles that Bessie had to overcome because of the racial inequality of the time, and the determination and courage she had to achieve her dream. Grimes gives an introduction to the book with a brief description of Bessie’s life. On the last page, there is a note about her death. The book is fictional and there is a list of acknowledgements and source material that Grimes used to research facts about Bessie. This would be a good book to introduce a research project on Bessie Coleman or the racist organizations of the time. It is a great book to be read aloud or as reader’s theatre.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-30 12:45

    Bessie Coleman's story is brought to life in a way that children and adults alike feel like they're looking back on a friend. The book consists of a series of monologues from friends, family, and acquaintances of Bessie as they reminisce during her funeral. Bessie's determination to rise above expectations was astounding. Not only did she dare to leave her home to find success in the big city, but when she finally found what she wanted to do in life, she had to learn a different language just to go to school. Black women weren't allowed to become pilots in the United States, but they were in France. So Bessie went to France, learned French, learned to fly (in French), and came home.I this story would be great to use, not only for a history unit, but when kids need a little motivation. If a student is having trouble finding the drive to achieve, then this book would really inspire them to overcome their trial. Also, I think it would be great to have students do a history\creative writing project where they would pick a historical figure, and write a monologue from the point of view of someone who knew that person. Its a great book for anyone to read, and I think there are many uses for it in the classroom.

  • Leah Gerber
    2019-05-29 14:49

    Throughout the book on each page there is a portrait of each important character in the books like the Coleman family members, the school teacher, drummer, classmate, and the news reporter. I thought that was interesting and it really helped support the text. The illustrations show Bessie as a really young girl where she reads books in class, then as a teenager saving up money in a jar while working as a laundress. Then she is playing music and turns into a young adult and is boarding a train saying goodbye to her home and family. Bessie then arrives in the big city and becomes a pilot. She is dressed as a pilot and lands her first flight safely. At the end of the book she stands tall and proud of herself for accomplishing her dreams. This book is most likely very appealing to children because they love dreaming of what they are going accomplish when they are grown up. This is for elementary students. This would be great to use in the classroom to introduce some of the first famous women in history. Also planes are really interesting for young children. Grimes, N. (2002). Talkin’ about Bessie: The story of aviator elizabeth coleman (E.B. Lewis, Illustrator). London, UK: Orchard Books.

  • Broghan Schlicher
    2019-05-27 12:43

    This is a biography written by Nikki Grimes. This book is a partial biography, and is told in a way that the family is remembering the good times and memories they spent with Bessie. This book is the winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, as well as an Coretta Scott King Honor Award. Bessie Coleman was born in Texas in 1892. As an African-American, she had to deal with racism and discrimination growing up. Growing up, she did her very best in everything she did, to someday achieve greatness. As a young lady she moved to Chicago, and from there she went to France to train as an aviator, because no school in the United States would accept her because she was a female and an African American. When she returned as the first licensed African-American female pilot, she gradually became a hero. Though her life ended early in a tragic plane crash, she was a pioneer for African-American rights. The students could convert the reading to a radio show. This would be an exciting idea for the students to really learn about this wonderful woman! This is a great book for students in 3rd and 4th grade. This book is a great book to discuss fairness, African Americans, and women's rights.I gave this book 4 stars!

  • Toneeshia
    2019-06-03 18:44

    Talkin About Bessie is a biography for primary aged children. It won the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator award and the 2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book. This book is about aviator Elizabeth Coleman who decided to become an aviator after her older brother John Coleman teased that. African. American women would never fly and eventually she taught others. The story is told from the point of view of those who knew her primarily family. The language used tells the era, it also tells the type of education the person speaking has. It also takes a fictional approach to telling Elizabeth's biography. The theme of the book is Elizabeth never took no for an answer and did whatever she had to do to accomplish goals set forth for her. The illustrations contain a combination of art styles, realistic and impressionistic. The illustrations show Elizabeth at the age they are talking about. Talkin About Bessie is a five star book because it effectively tells Elizabeth Coleman's story in a manner that is easy to understand as well as included her whole life. I would use this book during Black History month, I would have each child pick a historic trailblazer or hero and create a project telling the class about the person.

  • Alex Daniels
    2019-05-31 14:52

    Talkin' Bout Bessie is a biography on the first black woman aviator, Elizabeth Coleman. This biography is written in free verse poetry and as a fictional story told by true people in her life. The author Nikki Grimes does a really unique job with this biography. Each of the pages are written about Elizabeth (aka Bessie) from the view of her relatives, friends, classmates, teachers, or students. I think this is a great biography for children because it gives the basic genre of biography a twist. It also provides a different view of poetry. I also enjoy the paintings of events in her life and the painted portraits of the people telling the story of her life. Bessie's story is also inspiring for girls and african americans. This book gives a little peak into history at the time of segregation and the Jim Crow Laws. There are many great teaching aspects in this book and I would highly recommend it for individual reading, or classroom reading. I think students in third grade or above would have an easy time reading this book. Even as a college student, I really enjoyed and learned from this book!

  • Karen
    2019-05-30 12:40

    Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman wins the Self-Rescuing Princess Society seal of approval for sharing both the struggles and determination that led Bessie Coleman to France, as well as her thrill of success and her drive to share her love of flying with the rest of her race -- lifting them up in more ways than one.It is a perfect book for early readers though middle-grade children, and its illustrations make it appealing to younger kids as well. Heck, it's so gorgeous, it would make a lovely coffee table book for adults. The story doesn't shy away from the painful truths of Jim Crow and being a black child growing up in the land of cotton in the early 1900s. Instead Nikki Grimes explains these hardships in a way that even young children can understand and process. There's a reason this book has received the Coretta Scott King Award twice -- one for the author, and another for the illustrator. It is a breathtaking book about a truly inspirational woman.Read the rest of my review: https://selfrescuingprincesssociety.b...

  • Patricia Smith
    2019-05-29 17:48

    Talkin' About Bessie is a biography intended for primary aged children. It has won the Scharr Medallion for contributions promoting aviation and the 2003 Coretta Scott King Honor book awards. The book tells the story of an African-American woman determined not to be another domestic worker which was one of the few jobs minorities could obtain during her time. Bessie's story is told by people who personally knew her. Before reading this book, I never heard of the accomplished and fearless woman that broke the racial lines in the aviation world. The author gives the reader detailed information about Bessie and her life. I gave this book five stars for the author writing about an unknown pioneer. Talkin' About Bessie could be used in the classroom in a theme about female aviators. Since Amelia Earhart is the only person people associate with woman in aviation, a lesson about Bessie Coleman would be refreshing for children to learn about. The illustrations in the book effectively recounts the important stages in her life. The book would be appealing to children because of the illustrations stand out and the author shares a little know story about a courageous woman.

  • Sharne' Cherry
    2019-06-09 18:33

    1. Biography2. Talkin about Bessie is an autobiography about the late Bessie Coleman. As an African American women, she made history in the area of aviation. The language used tells the era, it also tells the type of education the person speaking has. It also takes a fictional approach to telling Elizabeth's biography. The theme of the book is Elizabeth never took no for an answer and did whatever she had to do to accomplish goals set forth for her.3.a.Illustrationsb. The illustrations in this book are comprised of different art styles; realistic and impressionistic. The illustrations show Elizabeth at the age she is in the book. They also add to the fictional style use in this book. Talkin' about Bessie's illustrations add to the dialect and tone written in the text as well as exemplify excellence. I really enjoyed simply examining the illustrations alone.4. This book could be used to relay the idea that you can do anything you put your mind to. It could serve as mere encouragement for students.

  • Lena
    2019-06-02 17:28

    Grade/Interest Level: Upper Elementary (3rd-5th)Reading Level: 710LGenre: Picture Book, Biography, Historical FictionMain Characters: Bessie ColemanSetting: Early 20th CenturyPOV:Third Person (Family and Friends)Summary: This book is a biography on Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman during the time of Jim Crow laws and segregation. Being also African American was not easy for Bessie as she was constantly told of what she could and couldn't do. After the historic flight of the Wright brothers, she decided that she wanted to become the first African American female pilot and obtain a pilot's license. This is an inspirational book of one's faith and determination to overcome any hardships dealing with poverty, racism, and gender discrimination.Classroom Uses/Theme: I would have students think about Elizabeth Coleman's character. I would also introduce the topic of biography and have the class do more research on Elizabeth Coleman and collect information about her life as a class.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-06-16 11:39

    "Her mind was set, she said, on turning 'Uncle Tom's Cabin into a hangar,' where she could, at long last, teach our people how to fly." I'm a little embarrassed that I'm only giving Bessie three stars because, in all honesty, it's a good book. I didn't enjoy the style Grimes chose to use, of having people from Bessie's life "talk" about her for a page at a time. The passages are long, and while some are interesting, they don't flow very well. The illustrations are excellent, but I wondered at the subjects chosen a few times. For example, when Bessie is in the hospital recovering, we're treated to a watercolor painting of a hospital divider curtain and Bessie's sheet-covered feet. I'm not sure kids, even the older kids for whom this book was intended (grades 3-8), will enjoy this one.

  • Madison
    2019-06-20 16:37

    This story is about Elizabeth Coleman who was a famous aviator. She was famous because she was the First Licensed African-American pilot. It is written through eulogies which are based off perspectives of other people, and then fictionalized to match the book.The pictures are softly done and do not show great detail. While there is color in the book, they are soft and do not have a lot of bright colors throughout the pages. The clothing that is worn in the pictures is very realistic of the times. The pictures follow along with each one of the characters and compliment the story that is taking place. While the pictures are not 100% clear, they show exactly what is taking place in the scene.

  • John Sullivan
    2019-06-14 11:29

    Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman was created with watercolors. The cover image of Elizabeth Coleman was well-done, but I was not a fan of the work inside of the book. Every image was painted blurry; there were no solid lines throughout the pages. As a reader, this effect threw me off, and while I enjoyed the text, I did not like the story as much due to the illustrations. The text was great and the topic was interesting; I had never heard of Elizabeth Coleman before picking up this book. In the classroom this would be a powerful book to read because Bessie overcame many obstacles to become a female, African American pilot. Students would love to learn about her, so I might use this as a read-aloud book.

  • Melissa
    2019-06-11 17:56

    From the wonderful cover showing Bessie Coleman with her flying gear on, this book is a wonderful account of a phenomenal African-American woman, born in 1892. Very cleverly staged, this book is a fictionalized account of Bessie’s life, as told by relatives, teachers and news reporters, each with their own page and illustration, while Bessie, in her photograph on a mantel behind them, looks and listens. We learn about her life, from her beginnings in Texas and picking cotton, to Chicago and a job “buffin’ men’s nails at a high-class barbershop on The Stroll”, and finally, to France for her flight training. This inspirational, beautifully-illustrated book is a wonderful introduction to this heroine and should lead any reader to seek out more about Bessie Coleman.

  • Carlee
    2019-06-01 11:55

    Talkin About Bessie is a biography for primary aged children. It won the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator award and the 2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book. This book is about aviator Elizabeth Coleman who decided to become an aviator after her older brother John Coleman teased that. African. American women would never fly and eventually she taught others. The story is told from the point of view of those who knew her primarily family. The language used tells the era, it also tells the type of education the person speaking has. It also takes a fictional approach to telling Elizabeth's biography

  • Genaye Parodi
    2019-05-29 18:48

    Wow...I'm really impressed with how the authors used different characters to reveal the life of Bessie Coleman. This book is great for any age group and is truly inspirational for young women everywhere. Bessie broke down multiple barriers from racism to sexism. She not only was discriminated against because she was African American, but also because she was a woman. Her family was very poor and this hindered her at times from reaching her goals. With persistence and true dedication, Bessie was able to succeed at becoming the First African American female pilot. This book is great to use as an anchor book or read aloud with a unit on perseverance or equality for women.