Finding Amelia by Lynsey Howell is a charming story for young children about Sara and her dog Zulu who excitedly visit an air show. Given the opportunity to fly in a bi-plane, Sara takes control of the plane and straight into a time portal cloud, where she’s soon joined by Amelia Earhart in the cockpit. There we learn about Amelia Earhart’s achievements, inspiring a love of flying for boys and girls alike.
A trained pilot herself, Howell injects Finding Amelia with a love of aviation, and a special reverence for Amelia Earhart. This passion comes through in the illustrations by Vitaliia Kalmutska, done in vivid, textured watercolors with much detail of people and landscapes for kids to pore over on every page. Especially expressive is the “time portal” in a cloud, which is painted like a mini galaxy.
Some of the language may be a bit confusing for younger kids. For example, Howell writes, “Thunderously loud radial engine,” without explaining what a radial engine actually is. Howell’s knowledge of aviation may be assuming the same level of knowledge for kids or parents. She does do a very good job of integrating facts about Amelia Earhart into the story, for those kids who might not know who she is, and without turning the book into a dry history lesson.
Overall, the book is recommended for a child who has a special love of planes. It’s an especially empowering story for girls, about one of America’s great heroes.