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My Brothers' Flying Machine: Wilbur,…

My Brothers' Flying Machine: Wilbur, Orville, and Me

by Jane Yolen

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In My Brothers’ Flying Machine by Yolen, The author writes in first person from the perspective of Katharine Wright, Orville and Wilber’s sister. She was said to have a lot of influence, and Yolen captures that in this book as the reader is encouraged to look at the life of the Wright Brothers from quite a different, yet very important perspective. The untold story that Katharine tells allows readers to see the invention of flight from a--for lack of a better term-- “mother’s” perspective (as the book gives Katharine’s title). The story goes that the two boys have a gift presented to them by their father which begins to make them wonder. It is a flying machine made of basic balsa wood and paper wings wound together with rubber band which powered it. The boys referred to it as a flying bat and after playing with it for a while break it. This is truly the beginning of their fascination for aviation.
Given the amount of literature and use of proper grammar and large vocabulary words, the most appropriate grade level for this book would have to be 3rd grade. Students would be challenged in their English skills and learn how to sharpen their science process skills simultaneously. There are various reasons, apart from the elaborate use of grammar, as to why this book is appropriate for 3rd graders. Primarily, the story exemplifies what it means to not give up on something while keeping an inquisitive mind, the markings of a true scientist. At the end of the book, is a short note from the author explaining how the information was gathered to compile this book. The note explains the validity of the sources including some published work from the Smithsonian.
Not only is this book a great work of literature, but it could also be used as a tool for science. I could provide students with a broken “Flying Machine” and bring in parts to repair it just like the Wright Brothers did.
  scoria | Nov 11, 2009 |
The story is told by Wilbur and Orville’s younger sister Katharine Wright. She tells the reader that Wilbur and Orville’s interest in planes began when their father brought home a flying toy. They dissected it and examined it until one day it broke. She tells of her brothers successful accomplishments of making a press machine, running a bicycle shop and eventually creating a flying machine on December 17 in Kitty Hawk.

I didn’t really find this book interesting even though it did have a lot of good information about the Wright brothers. The illustrations were good, but not interesting either. I did enjoy how the book was told by their sister it made it a little more personal.

In the classroom I would probably do a project in creating a flying machine like a plane or a kite. Then have the students try their designs outside to see how or if the work. Another good classroom idea would be to have the students get into groups and make a poster board with the evolution of the plane from then to now. ( )
  GI142984 | Apr 3, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316971596, Hardcover)

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight, this story is told from the point of view of their sister, Katherine, who watched her brothers play with a toy flying machine, which was the beginning of their remarkable collaboration. Full color.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:05 -0400)

Provides a look at the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright, as seen through the eyes of their younger sister, Katharine, who provided support and encouragement while they worked on their many inventions.

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