Fly, Girl, Fly! : Shaesta Waiz Soars Around the World
by Pimm, Nancy Roe; Bye, Alexandra (ILT)

"You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar." -Shaesta Waiz

Shaesta Waiz, a refugee from Afghanistan, dreamed of doing great things. But first she had to leave a refugee camp with her family to make a new life in America, overcome gender stereotypes, be the first in her family to go to college, and overcome her fear of flying. After becoming a pilot, Shaesta made the flight of a lifetime by crossing five continents, making thirty stops in twenty-two countries across nearly 25,000 nautical miles. At the age of thirty, Shaesta was the youngest woman and the first from Afghanistan to circumnavigate the globe by herself in a single-engine aircraft.

Fly, Girl, Fly! is the first authorized picture book biography of Shaesta Waiz. Backmatter includes more information about Shaesta's mission to empower girls to pursue STEM careers, details about her historic trip around the world, information about her nonprofit organization Dreams Soar, and a personal note from Shaesta Waiz encouraging girls to pursue their dreams.

Nancy Roe Pimm is an award-winning author of many books and articles for children. In addition to Fly, Girl, Fly!, Pimm is the author of the middle-grade biography The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo around the World. She and her retired racecar-driver husband Ed Pimm live in Plain City, Ohio. They have three daughters and two grandsons. Nancy and Ed share their home with two dogs, one cat, and one snake.

Alexandra Bye is a New England local who works as a full-time freelance illustrator specializing in fun, colorful illustrations for a variety of platforms such as publication, editorial, and advertising. Her work is constantly inspired by her community and reflects her passion for color, people, and the outdoors. She enjoys balancing her creative time with mountain biking, paddle boarding, cooking, and hiking with her dog.

At 30, Shaesta Waiz became the first woman from Afghanistan and the youngest woman ever to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world. Born in an Afghanistan refugee camp, Shaesta moved to the United States as a baby with her family. As a young child, Shaesta declares she "will do great things!" After graduating high school, inspired by a trip to Florida and "the view from above," Shaesta dreams of becoming a pilot. Although many try to discourage her, Shaesta's determination leads her to graduate college (the first in her family to do so) and to get her pilot's license. She doesn't just travel—she meets with children all over the world to "get them excited about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math to chase down dreams of their own!" Referring to her subject by her first name throughout, Pimm introduces Waiz as a baby and chronologically traces her growth into an adult who can make her own decisions. Bye's colorful illustrations emphasize Waiz's excitement, occasional fear, and determination. One early spread juxtaposes life at home, with her family speaking Farsi and Pashto, against school, where "she learned to be American," implying at home she is un-American—an unfortunate misstep. Overall, however, the narrative succeeds in introducing readers to a role model worth knowing. An author's note describes Waiz's Dreams Soar foundation, and a note from Waiz herself closes the book. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-17.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 56.8% of actual size.) An inspiring celebration of passion, dedication, and success. (Picture book/biography. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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