Academic journal article Language Arts

Talkin' about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

Academic journal article Language Arts

Talkin' about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

Article excerpt

Talkin' about Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman Written by Nikki Grimes Illustrated by E. B. Lewis Orchard Books, 2002, unpaged , ISBN 978-0- 4393- 5243- 7

2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor

This fictional biography tells the story of Elizabeth Coleman through a series of eulogies written as poems. Twenty different narrators, from a field hand to a flight instructor to family members, reminisce about Bessie's incredible life. First, George Coleman, her father, remembers the day she was born and when she was a toddler, "She was jus' a chile then, spendin' happy days / waterin' roses, weeding' where corn, / kale, and peanuts grew out back, and / moldin' mud pies after cool spring rains." The accompanying watercolor illustration presents young Bessie surrounded by roses. A head shot picture of George Coleman is included.

Each narrator, in chronological order, recalls anecdotes and stories to help readers get to know Coleman. A school teacher recalls a bright, determined girl, "When it came to knowledge, Bessie was a miser, / hoarding facts and figures like gold coins she was / saving up to spend on something special. …

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