Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2011. 118p. ISBN: 978-0-37584-1989.
ALSC Notable Book, 2002-2012
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction, 2012
Horn Book, starred review
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
School Library Journal, starred review
In Amelia Lost, author Candace Fleming tells the story of famous pilot Amelia Earhart’s legendary disappearance. Detailing her life as well as her ultimate flight and the government’s search for her, the book is a fast-paced read driven by mystery.
Amelia Earhart, the most famous female pilot of all time, is as famous for her mysterious disappearance as she is for her living achievements. In Amelia Lost, author Candace Fleming details Amelia’s final flight (a 27,000 mile expedition circumnavigating the globe at its widest point) as well as the subsequent search for her and her navigator, Fred Noonan. Alternating between chapters on Amelia’s life and career as a pilot and sections on the United States’ search efforts, the book’s very structure plays to the mystery behind the legend. This approach lent the book an almost cinematic quality, detailing the search but flashing back to tell the story of who Amelia Earhart was. I read this book in one sitting, and after finishing it spent some time further researching the famous pilot and her tragic disappearance. When I really love a book I’m sad to see it end, and I was sad to see Fleming’s book end. It will inspire young adult readers to delve deeper into Amelia’s story.
Amelia Lost includes many black and white photographs as well as newspaper and magazine articles, vintage advertisements, maps, logbooks, etc. that give readers a peek into Amelia’s world. It also contains many caption boxes that further explain aviation technology, share little snippets of Amelia’s life (for example, what she ate and who she dated), and more. These caption boxes greatly enhance Fleming’s book, though it isn’t necessary to read them as they come. Because the book was so compelling, I read these sections at the end of each chapter so as not to interrupt the flow of the story.
Though the story of Amelia’s disappearance is at the center of Fleming’s book, the chapters on her life are also very moving. Amelia was a feminist who rejected society’s expectations of women. She was smart, athletic, opinionated, and she fought for what she wanted. She survived family struggles (her family’s fall from grace due to her father’s alcoholism) with strength and dignity. Though it was Amelia’s career as a pilot that made her famous, and her mysterious disappearance that made her a legend, her strength and incredible sense of self make her an inspiration.
Bibliography, Finding Amelia on the Web, Source Notes by Chapter, Picture Credits, index