Libraries Receive Aviation-Inspired Books for Girls in STEM

Thanks to The Gazette for Recognizing This Program

Amazing! That’s what these last few weeks have been to me. Any of you who follow my blog posts and biweekly newsletters — or who are in tune with me on Facebook — are somewhat aware of this. And my Colorado Springs friends who take The Gazette have seen it up close and personal!

Last Saturday, The Gazette ran a terrific article about my books, about me and about the work that I — with a lot of help from several friends and partners in this undertaking — have been able to launch. Now there’s this article in Editor Randy Loyd’s Chapter Newsletter for EAA Chapter 72, Meadow Lake Airport, Colorado Springs. He sent this out to the membership this week. (I am a member.) I’ve reprinted it here, with his permission. My grateful thanks to Randy and to the Chapter. And my heartfelt appreciation to Vann Norred of EAA 72 for jump-starting this incredible endeavor. Thanks Vann!!!

EAA Chapter 72 Newsletter Editor Writes:

EAA Chapter 72 and two chapters of the Ninety-Nines are working together to give Sarah Rickman’s two-volume young adult series, WASP Pilots to middle and high schools in the Colorado Springs area.  We are proud to be working with the Rio Grande Norte and Fort Worth Chapters of the Ninety-Nines and Terry London Rinehart, BJ Erickson’s daughter on the project. Our first presentation was January 29 at Falcon High School where pairs of books were donated to the Falcon Middle School, Falcon High School and the Falcon Junior Air Force ROTC libraries. Our goal is to place 35 sets of these award winning books in local schools.

 The second event took place on March 7 at the Mill National Training Center, a joint vocational education campus of Widefield District 3 and Peyton District 23. Educators from Sproul Junior High School and Widefield High School were present to receive the books for their libraries.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) awarded this recently published young adult series, WASP Pilots, their Combs-Gates award for 2019. The WASP Pilot series, written for readers age 10 and up, begins with two biographies, BJ Erickson: WASP Pilot and Nancy Love: WASP Pilot, chronicling women flying sophisticated Army airplanes in World War II, events in aviation history unknown by today’s youth. This series is intended to interest young girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) through these young women’s accomplishments in aviation.

More local schools will be receiving these books in their libraries soon. — Randy Loyd

Award-Winning Woman Pilot Biographies Aimed at Girls 10-14

What’s happening here in Colorado Springs is a direct result of yours truly (Sarah Byrn) being honored last October, winning the Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame — for the second time. Thank you Amy Spowart, NAHF President and CEO, and staff and in particular the judges for so honoring me and my books BJ Erickson: WASP Pilot and Nancy Love: WASP Pilot.

The Combs Gates Award, in NAHF’s own words, “is for projects that reflect an emphasis on the individual pioneers – the people – who defined America’s aerospace horizons.” Nancy Love and BJ Erickson are two such pioneers, remarkable in their accomplishments.

The NAHF’s goal is to broaden the appreciation of the world of aviation and space to an ever-widening audience, specifically each younger generation as it evolves. In other words: our youth, today, tomorrow and beyond. They felt these two books — that show what a small group of skilled, innovative, and daring young women did when the opportunity to serve in World War II called — were worth advocating and endorsing.

Who Is the Audience Here?

Up until now, I’ve written adult-focused (general audience) books. These two books are my initial entry into what is called, in the literary world, the Young Adult (YA) Market — books aimed at middle schoolers and, in my case, young high schoolers —roughly age 10 to 14. I know voracious 10-year-old readers on up can read, understand and appreciate what is contained in them. I was one of them many many years ago.

Frankly, the books also appeal to older teens and adults, because I REFUSE to write down to kids. These books are shorter, contain less supplementary material, are fast moving, and cover a specific and significant period in history. And, yes, they are about women— little known women who succeeded. Aviation terms are clarified. Most adults don’t have a working knowledge of the aviation lingo, let alone kids.

Young people today, young women in particular, need to know what forward-thinking, smart, confident women of the past have done. They are apt role models for today’s youth. But if nothing is known about them, a great opportunity is lost. Thus my books. Number three should be out this August. And two more wait in the wings for me to finish them.

My Thanks to the Ninety-Nines  and the EAA!

My thanks to my Nines-Nines sisters in the Rio Grande Norte and the Fort Worth chapters and, as always, Terry Rinehart — BJ’s daughter — (both Ninety-Nines) who has been with me in this endeavor from the beginning. They bought half of our give-away books and EAA Chapter 72 bought the other half. Let me add: my own Ninety-Nines chapter — our local Pikes Peak Ninety-Nines — gave away 15 copies of these books at a Girl Scout Patch Day held at the Colorado Jet Center last October. Thanks to Chair Di Gillings and the rest of the gang!

Here are some photos from our day at the Mill National Training Center, a joint vocational education campus of Widefield District 3.

Left to right: Vann Norred, Kristie Martinez & Anna Gordon (Sproul Junior High School), Author Sarah Byrn Rickman, and Amy Hawkins (Widefield High School.)

Order BJ Erikson: WASP Pilot:

Order Nancy Love: WASP Pilot:

Thanks for reading my Blog! SBR

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