CurriConnects Book List - Flight and Things that Fly


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Flight and Things that Fly
Learn how things fly--either by nature or human engineering! Read about birds, aircraft, and the people who have pioneered human flight. The Wright Brothers were not the only ones who took to the sky! Read about the many ways that people have used flying machines and the many creatures that fly. How does flight work? Share this list with students during your study of physics of flight and aerodynamics. Include it during study of sophisticated engineering design or of basic concepts such as gravity and air flow. As you study animal adaptations and the differences among species, look closely at how birds fly and how man-made flying machines mimic some of their capabilities. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all these books will inspire young aviators, animal scientists, designers, and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of questions they would like to investigate further. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. This list is particularly rich in offerings for elementary and middle school, with some offerings for high school level readers, as well.

Preschool and Picture Books

Anything is Possible - Giulia Belloni, (978-1926973913), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 540, ESL level: 2
A wolf and sheep encounter difficulties while trying to build a machine that can fly.

Clorinda Takes Flight - Robert Kinerk, (978-0689868641), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Clorinda the cow and Hop the hog keep trying to build a machine that can fly so Clorinda can fulfill her dream of being an aviator.

Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon Ride - H.A. Rey, (978-0395919095), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Curious George wonders at all he can see from a hot air balloon as he zooms over Mt. Rushmore in a balloon race.

Curious George Up, Up, and Away - H.A. Rey, (978-0547119663), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
Curious George and his friend Bill accidentally release a hot air balloon's ropes and wonder how they will get back to the ground.

Elecopter - Michael Slack, (978-0805093049), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1, ESL level: 2
A flying elephant serves as the patrol for other jungle animals.

Flight School - Lita Judge, (978-1442481770), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
A young penguin, already knowing his species is not supposed to be able to fly, is determined to take off into the air; follow how his determination and technological assistance help him become airborne.

Flying - Kevin Luthardt, (978-1561457243), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1, ESL level: 2
A young boy both learns details about why he cannot fly and information about other things he can do.

Flying High - Jorgen Stamp, (978-1592700899), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
See how Walter the giraffe constructs an airplane from scratch but does not want to share his first flight with any of his friends.

Hot Air Henry - Mary Calhoun, (978-0688040680), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 530, ESL level: 2 - 3
Henry the Siamese cat follows along as the humans prepare their hot air balloon for its travel; he manages to jump in to enjoy the views at the last minute.

I Wish I Were a Pilot - Stella Blackstone, (978-1846861680), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1, ESL level: 2 - 3
Readers can see pilots manipulating all sorts of flying vehicles.

Kite Day - Will Hillenbrand, (978-0823427581), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Follow Bear and Mole as they make their own kite and try to get it up into the air (Bear and Mole stories).

Let's Go Hugo - Angela Dominguez, (978-0803738645), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Hugo conquers his fear of flying with the help of a friend and soars around Paris.

My Plane Book - Ellen Kirk, (978-0060899417), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
The Smithsonian offers lots of information about planes and flying in an interesting and easy-to-ready presentation.

Owlet's First Flight - Mitra Modarressi, (978-0399255267), Fiction
Interest level: 0-1, Lexile: 380, ESL level: 2
A nervous baby owl takes off on his own and finds plenty to see during his nighttime flight.

Pilot Mom - Kathleen Duble, (157-0915555), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 3
Jenny and her best friend get to visit the air base where Jenny's mother will fly from and make a visit to her airplane.

Planes - Amy Shields, (978-1426307126), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, Lexile: 440, ESL level: 2 - 3
This National Geographic reader introduces young children to many types of aircraft, historical planes, and a knowledgeable pilot who answers all their questions without being asked.

Sally's Great Balloon Adventure - Stephen Huneck, (978-0810983311), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
Sally and a dog take off in a hot air balloon, enjoying the scenes below.

See How They Go: Airplane - DK Publishing, (978-0756655211), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
Learn about many different types of planes.

This is Daniel Cook on a Plane - Yvette Ghione, (978-1554530823), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Daniel learns about types of planes, airplane parts, plane mechanics, and flight history when he boards a plane.

Up With Birds! - John Yeoman, (978-1849396516), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Read this tale to learn how birds ame to fly with the help of Mr. Fflyte after he finds them taking up too much space on the ground.

What Flies in the Air? - Brian Biggs, (978-0061958168), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-1, ESL level: 2
Follow the birds in this story as they catch rides with many different types of flying machines.

Your New Jett-Pup Owner's Manual - David Gordon, (978-0982613726), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
This "owner's manual" guides the very young about how to use a hovering time-travel aircraft.

Zephyr Takes Flight - Steve Light, (978-0763656959), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2
Zephyr loves planes so much she creates them any way she can, and one day a secret door leads her to a place of many planes and other flying machines.

Early Elementary Books

Big Book of Airplanes - DK Publishing, (978-0789465214), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
Learn about all types of flying objects in this fascinating account that has plenty of pictures and illustrations.

Cam Jansen: The Mystery of Flight 54 - David Adler, (978-0142401798), Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, Lexile: 480, ESL level: 2 - 3
Cam and her friend get involved in investigating a mysterious disappearance after they pick up Cam's Aunt Molly who has just come from France.

Endeavour's Long Journey - John Olivas, (978-0985623722), Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
This fictionalized account explores the 19 years of the Endeavour spacecraft's flights, missions, and astronauts.

Fighter Planes - Jeffrey Zuehlke, (978-0822528739), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Learn all about the different ways fighter planes can be used and find out about the different types of names.

First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers - George Shea, (978-0064442152), Fiction
Interest level: 2-3, Lexile: 460, ESL level: 2 - 3
Tom wants to be aboard with the Wright Brothers when they try out their new flying machine.

Flight: A Popup Book of Aircraft - Robert Crowther , (978-0763634599), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-5, ESL level: 3
This book goes through the history of flying machines, from planes, to balloons, to today's Airbus.

Flying Jack - Kathye Petrie, (978-1563979712), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
Jack's desire to become a pilot continues even after he names all the children in his family after famous fliers.

Hot Air - Marjorie Priceman, (978-0689826429), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 690, ESL level: 2 - 3
Is this really the story of the first hot air balloon ride, told by its animal passengers?

How Do Hot Air Balloons Work? - Buffy Silverman, (978-1467707855), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level:
With lots of photos and easy explanations, readers can learn how hot air balloons become airborn, steer, and land (How Flight Works series).

Jet Plane: How it Works - David Macaulay, (978-1596437678), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-4, Lexile: 560, ESL level: 2 - 3
Find out how a jet works from take off to landing in this informative volume.

Louis' Dream Plane - Terry Milne, (184-5079256), Fiction
Interest level: 1-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Louis loves planes of all kinds, and he spends a lot of time figuring out how they work, but when he picks up a toy plane in a play area, he suffers more guilt than joy at having it.

Nugget on the Flight Deck - Patricia Newman, (978-0802797353), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Nugget learns all about how aircraft carriers work as well as amassing a great amount of flight lingo; readers can also see how Nugget demonstrates his learning of flight skills in a practice battle.

Star Wars: Star Pilot - Laura Buller, (978-0756611613), Fiction
Interest level: 2-4, ESL level: 3
Learn all about the imaginary vehicles used in the Star Wars books and movies, how they fly, how they are used, how they are built.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

The Strictest School in the World: Being the Tale of a Clever Girl, a Rubber Boy and a Collection of Flying Machines, Mo - Howard Whitehouse, (978-1553378822), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 4
Emmaline's piloting aspirations have to be put on hold when she ends up in a boarding school that has more than its share of dark elements and forcing her to think only of escape.

Alex and Penny Ballooning over Italy - Giada Francia, (978-8854401600), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
During Alex and Penny's spy mission, they learn all about Italian culture and history as well as flying a hot air balloon.

Amelia Earhart: Lady Lindy - Ann Hood, (978-0448457413), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
Cousins Felix, Maisie and the twin siblings time travel to Kansas and encounter Amelia Earhart before her fateful trip.

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind - Gary Ross, (978-0763649203), Fiction
Interest level: 2-5, ESL level: 3 - 4
Bartholomew flies on the wind with nothing but a bedsheet to hold him up and has many adventures with pirates, school children, and in other mysterious places.

Benjamin Franklinstein and the Fright Brothers - Matthew McElligott, (978-0142422007), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 620, ESL level: 3 - 4
Benjamin Franklin helps uncover a mysterious sighting of strange flying beasts, the likes of which could only have been invented by the legendary Wright Brothers in this sequel to the first Benjamin Franklinstein book.

Book of Flight - Judith Rinard, (978-1554072750), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book is the companion to a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, illustrating the history of flight and those inventors who sought to enhance air travel.

Captain Arsenio: Inventions and (Mis)Adventures in Flight - Pablo Bernasconi, (978-0547562063), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 920, ESL level: 3 - 4
Arsenio's misadventures in trying to construct a viable flying machine create verbal portraits of many fascinating contraptions.

Cosmic Aviators - G.E.F. Neilson, (978-0957613256), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3
The mysterious watch that a young boy inherits whisks him into a magic world of wonderful flight, challenging quests, and a confrontation between good and evil in this gripping sci fi series starter.

Dragonwings - Laurence Yep, (978-0064400855), Fiction
Interest level: 7-10, Lexile: 870, ESL level: 4
A Chinese father and son, recently immigrated to San Francisco, struggle to make a living but dream of making a flying machine; this novel is based on a true happening.

Flight - Andrew Nahum, (978-0756673178), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
This sterling DK Eyewitness book provides everything a young person need know about the history of flight, types of aircraft, tips about how planes actually stay in the air, and more.

The Flight of the Silver Turtle - John Fardell, (978-1101099841), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-6, Lexile: 990, ESL level: 3 - 4
Ben and friends learn about constructing a futuristic plane, but on the day of the test flight, the children are kidnapped in the plane.

Flight School: How to Fly a Plane - Step by Step - Nicholas Barnard, (978-0500650011), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-5, ESL level: 3
If being a pilot is your dream, try this book which covers all the details of how to take off, land, and swerve around up in the sky!

Flygirl - Sherri Smith, (978-0142417256), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 680, ESL level: 4
An African American girl wants to become an airforce pilot during WWI, so she is forced to pass for white.

The Girl Who Could Fly - Victoria Forester, (978-0312602383), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, Lexile: 920, ESL level: 4
Piper's ability to fly lands her an a government facility for exceptional children, but she soon realizes she must escape due to deception involved when she was brought to the secret place.

Hot Air - Anthony Masters, (978-1598890860), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, Lexile: 430, ESL level: 3 - 4
After Steve and friends go up in a much anticipated hot air balloon ride, Uncle Harry becomes unconscious due to a heart attack, and they must quickly figure out how to land the craft.

The Island of Mad Scientists - Howard Whitehouse, (978-1554532377), Fiction
Interest level: 3-8, ESL level: 3 - 4
Emmaline and Rubberbones are off in the air again, this time to find refuge on a peaceful isle, but the place they land turns out to be full of intrigue and danger (Mad Misadventures of Emmalilne and Rubberbones series) .

Jake's Balloon Blast - Ken Spillman, (978-1921696558), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3
Jake and a friend use Jake's intense desire to fly to figure out how to build his own flying apparatus!

Leonardo's Hand - Wick Downing, (978-0618078936), Fiction
Interest level: 4-8, ESL level: 3 - 4
A boy with just one hand finds his way in his new foster home when he is able to collaborate with Leonardo da Vince and design and build a flying machine.

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse - Torben Kuhlmann, (978-0735841673), Fiction
Interest level: 3-6, ESL level: 2 - 3
A nervous mouse feels he has to invent a flying machine to get to America after he sees the fate of those caught by cats and mousetraps.

Moomin's Desert Island - Tove Jansson, (978-1770461345), Fiction
Interest level: 3-4, ESL level: 3
The Moomin family makes the most of a helicopter crash on the very island where their ancestors used to live by learning both about their relatives and about survival.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 - Brian Floca, (978-1416950462), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 990, ESL level: 4
This easy-to-read volume tells the entire story of the history-making flight of Apollo 11 in 1969.

The Mysterious Flight of Darius Frobisher - Bill Harley, (978-1561454945), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, Lexile: 660, ESL level: 3
After Darius' father disappears in a hot air balloon flight, he is determined to get help building a flying machine from a bicycle in order to search for his lost dad.

The Nerdy Dozen - Jeff Miller, (978-0062272621), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
Neil and pals learn to fly with an Air Force simulator to help the service find and rescue two pilots in danger.

Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine - Sands Hetherington, (978-0984741724), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
John Degraffemreidt and friends enjoy sleepless nights filled with land and air adventures, especially when one of his buddies is a red crocodile; but wait, why are there red crocodiles everywhere?

One Small Step - P.B. Kerr, (978-1416942146), Fiction
Interest level: 2-9, Lexile: 780, ESL level: 4
Although Scott's flight instructor father has taught him to fly, it is not until he crash lands an aircraft that NASA recruits him for a secret trip to the moon; he comes to realize the chimps on board know just as much as he does!

Peak Survival - Pam Withers, (978-1552855300), Fiction
Interest level: 6-9, ESL level: 3 - 4
Peter and friends quickly bone up on their survival-rescue skills when their flight to a snowboarding site turns into an Arctic rescue attempt after a helicopter accident (Take it to the Extreme series).

Planes, Gliders, Helicopters and Other Flying Machines - Terry Jennings , (978-1856978699), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-9, ESL level: 3
Learn how many types of flying machines and gliders work in this volume, part of the "How Things Work" series.

Race for the Sky: The Kitty Hawk Diaries of Johnny Moore - Dan Gutman, (978-0689845543), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 880, ESL level: 4
Johnny finds distraction from being forced to write in his diary when he meets two creative guys from Ohio and together they try to build a flying machine.

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook - Eleanor Davis, (978-1599903965), Fiction
Interest level: 4-7, Lexile: 470, ESL level: 3 - 4
Julian finds new "nerdy" friends after a school change, and their inventions, including flying machines, are popular with adults who have questionable motives.

Up - Irene Trimble, (978-1439596579), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3 - 4
When Carl stops selling helium balloons, he decides to try to float his house all the way to South America using thousands of them, but a stowaway changes his plans and his focus.

Windblowne - Stephen Messer, (978-0375861857), Fiction
Interest level: 3-7, ESL level: 3 - 4
Oliver's collaboration with his uncle to build a kite takes a surprising turn when the uncle disappears and Oliver's newly built fly-itself kite takes him to a new world.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

A Web of Air - Phillip Reeve, (978-0545222167), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 1000, ESL level: 4 - 5
Fever Crumb joins a recluse in an attempt to create a flying apparatus that will help them escape their post-apocalyptic city before their enemies steal their technological knowledge and accomplishments.

Airman - Eoin Colfer, (978-1423107507), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 4
Conor must build a flying machine to escape his imprisonment from the Little Saltee prison where he toils as a diamond miner.

B for Buster - Iain Lawrence, (978-0307433152), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 730, ESL level: 4
Kak lies about being older and finds himself in the Canadian Air Force, learning how to fly and do bombing raids against Germany during WWII.

The Balloon Boy of San Francisco - Dorothy Leland, (978-0961735791), Fiction
Interest level: 5-10, ESL level: 3 - 4
Based on the true life adventure of Ready Gates, this book describes his fight in a hot air balloon over San Francisco which lasted for 50 miles.

Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein, (978-1423152194), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 1020, ESL level: 4
This fascinating account of women pilots in WWII, though not for the faint of heart, paints the portrait of a true friendship which grows even after the women's plane crashes and one is presumed dead and one ends up being tortured in a prison camp.

Crash - Mary Kate Doman, (978-1616512835), Fiction
Interest level: 7-9, Lexile: 40, ESL level: 2 - 3
After the Silva family's plane crashes, they learn all about accident survival from the pilot.

Far North - Will Hobbs, (978-0380725366), Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 820, ESL level: 3 - 4
Teen boys struggle to survive after their floatplane crashes and they are stuck in the cold wilderness.

Flight: The Complete History - R.G. Grant, (978-0756619022), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Read about the history of aircraft, up to the Space Age.

Flygirl - Sherri Smith, (978-0142417256), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
A young African American woman wants so desperately to become a pilot like her father that she tries to pass as white to enter the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

The Raft - S.A. Bodeen, (978-1250027399), Fiction
Interest level: 5-12, Lexile: 680, ESL level: 4
Robbie learns more about flying and survival than she bargained for when her plane crashes and her rescue onto a raft turns out to be worse than the crash.

The Rocketeer - Dave Stevens, (978-1600105371), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Enjoy the many adventures of Cliff Secord, a pilot who learns to fly using a rocket-pack in this graphic novel.

Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein, (978-1423183099), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, Lexile: 950, ESL level: 4 - 5
American WWII pilot Rose does not despair even after she is captured and finds herself in Ravensbruck; she befriends the women there and saves their stories in her mind to share with future generations after she is free.

Smithsonian Atlas of World Aviation - Dana Bell, (978-0061251443), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Every detail of the history of aviation and flying machines is covered in this landmark volume.

Violins of Autumn - Amy McAuley, (978-0802722997), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
A young 17-year-old woman becomes a spy and ends up in Germany looking to join the resistance, but her friendship with an American pilot teaches her how dangerous their situation is.

The World Below - Paul Chadwick, (978-1593073602), Fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
Charles' find of a miniature flying machine yields him a fortune, but when that wave of fame ends, he must go underground to see if there are more inventions he can use that exist beyond current technology.