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Best Children's Books about the Wright Brothers

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Here are three recommended children's books about inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright and the first airplanes. The first two books are well documented historical fiction and the third book is a biography of the Wright Brothers, focusing on their invention of the airplane. Whether you are looking for a picture book to read to a younger child, an early reading chapter book for a beginning reader, or a biography of the Wright Brothers for 9-12 year olds, there's a book here for your child.

1. My Brothers' Flying Machine

Cover art of children's picture book My Brothers' Flying Machine
Little, Brown and Company
Told from the perspective of their younger sister, Katherine, the story of the inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright comes alive in Jane Yolen's writing and in the stylized oil paintings by Jim Burke. This book is an excellent introduction to the story of the Wright Brothers and their airplanes. In the author's note, Jane Yolen discusses her research and points out that "Both brothers credited Katherine with having a hand in their success." (Little, Brown and Company, 2003. ISBN: 0316971596)
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2. First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers

This 48 page long, I Can Read Chapter Book is the fictionalized account of 12 year old Tom Tate, who became friends with the Wright Brothers in 1900 when the inventors came to Kitty Hawk, NC, to work on their flying machine. According to the author's notes, Orville and Wilbur Wright "really did send Tom up in their first 'kite' flying machine." The entertaining story by George Shea is complemented by the sketches of Don Bolognese. (HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN: 0064442152)
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3. The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

Russell Freedman's 128 page long biography of Orville and Wilbur Wright is an excellent resource for 9-12 year olds. The book is illustrated with a large number of photographs, many taken by the Wright Brothers. According to Freedman, "They photographed each phase of their experiments, carefully noting the subject, date, place, camera setting, type of negative, and other details for every picture." The book includes an index and recommended reading list.(Holiday House, 1991. ISBN: 0823408752)
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