Children's Books about Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman, the First Female African-American Pilot

shelved under History and Children's Books

Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, called Queen Bess, was the first African-American woman to become an pilot and the first American of any race or gender to obtain an international pilot’s license.  Unfortunately, I had never heard of this incredible woman until I started working in an aviation museum as an adult. I hope these books will enable your children to learn about this amazing human being who struggled with adversity to obtain her goals.


Bessie Coleman: First Black Woman Pilot

by Connie Plantz

This book is a well-researched biography of the daring stunt pilot Bessie Coleman. This is written for children, but I think adults could learn from this as well. The author also included a wonderful index.


Fly, Bessie, Fly

by Lynn Joseph, illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan

I loved the water color illustrations in this book about the pilot Bessie Coleman.


Fly High! The Story Of Bessie Coleman

by Mary Kay Kroeger, Louise Borden, illustrated by Teresa Flavin

This picture book biography is written for 9-12 year olds, but is a treat for all. The book tells of Bessie Coleman's difficult childhood and the many trials and tribulations she went through to fulfill her dream of becoming a pilot.


Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of "Brave Bessie" Coleman

by Reeve Lindbergh, illustrated by Pamela Paparone

This book is written as a narrative poem using simple rhymes that children will enjoy hearing. I loved the folk art illustrations in this book.


Talkin' About Bessie

by E.B. Lewis, Nikki Grimes, illustrated by B. Moser, Earl B. Lewis

This is a fictionalized account of Bessie Coleman's life as told by the people who attended the 34 year old pilot's funeral. The handsome design and large format that accompany each funeral attendee's account of Bessie's life make this book a wonderful addition for any children's library.


Up in the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman

by Barbara O'Connor, Philip S. Hart

A wonderful account of the life of this amazing aviator.