2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner!
2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book!
Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Orchard Books/Scholastic, 2002
Listen to Nikki read an excerpt
From the Book
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...
Still, bright as she was, I worried that her fine mind
would soon be sacrificed to a life spent picking cotton...
But after each harvest, she'd return to class.
determined as ever to snatch up and pocket
every tidbit of knowledge I could offer.
"Teacher," she'd say, "one day, I'm going
to amount to something..."
from Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman
© 2002 by Nikki Grimes
There are teaching guides available for this book. Click here.
In case you missed it, the Coretta Scott King Task Force honored yours truly with two book awards in 2003, the Author Award for Bronx Masquerade, and an Author Honor for Talkin' About Bessie.
The presentation was made at a breakfast during the American Library Association Conference, held in Toronto, Canada. Do you want to know what I said? Thought you'd never ask! Click here to find out.
"Grimes takes an usual, fictionalized approach to portraying this determined, undaunted woman who made aviation history. She reveals recreates the voices of 20 people who supposedly knew Bessie, expressing their point of view in a free-verse format...The handsome design, large format, and beautiful artwork make this very attractive..." Kirkus
"In a volume that looks like a picture book...Grimes offers a many-sided portrait of the first African-American aviatrix, Bessie Coleman...The speakers range from mother to sister to field hand to flight instructor to news reporter to preacher, but teller by teller, the story moves chronologically and builds emotionally to last entry, where Bessie speaks of the joy of flying...The verse reads aloud beautifully, making this book a good choice for readers' theater or for reading aloud in conjunction with the artwork, which shows up to good advantage from a distance. Although there have been other books about Coleman, this is a fine, original portrayal." Booklist, starred review
Scharr Medallion for contributions promoting aviation
2003 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
ALA Notable Book
Children's Literature Choice
Horn Book Fanfare
100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts
Booklist Editor's Choice
Book Link's "Lasting Connections"