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The Wright Brothers

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About the Author

Russell Freedman is well known for his riveting biographies and masterful accounts of the history of the United States. One of the most honored writers for children, Russell Freedman has been honored with the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honor Medals, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, and a National Humanities Medal. He travels widely but makes his home in New York City.


Gr 4-8-- What unusual people the Wright brothers were! Despite a four-year difference in age, the two grew up to be as close as twins, a patient bachelor pair who methodically set out to prove the possibility of powered, controlled human flight. Just as methodically, they promoted their new flying machine, made lots of money, and overcame the U. S. government's stubborn lack of interest. In his own inimitable way, Freedman takes readers back to that exciting time, using not only the Wrights' written descriptions and the accounts of awed observers, but also a large selection of the careful photographs that Wilbur and Orville took to document their experiments. After an opening chapter to set the stage, the author creates a detailed family portrait. He closes with discussions of the photographs, sites to visit, and sources of further information about the Wright brothers. Freedman's achievement is as splendid as those of his subjects. --John Peters, New York Public Library

Newbery winner Freedman ( Lincoln: A Photobiography ) has again produced a vivid, superior biography. This time focusing on a well-known pair of brothers, he effectively transforms our perception of the subjects as distant cultural icons into tireless, flesh-and- blood heroes. In understated, involving prose--skillfully laced with pertinent excerpts from journals, letters and contemporary accounts--Freedman lays out a clear and compelling history of the early aviation experiments that culminated in the legendary flight at Kitty Hawk. As with Lincoln , photographs are integral to Freedman's exposition and he makes ample, effective use of the many astonishing photos taken by the brothers in order to better document their experiments. Youngsters cannot fail to come away with a heightened understanding of the Wrights' dedication to manned flight and to the painstakingly slow process of invention. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)

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