Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

ISBN: 059096075X
ISBN 13: 9780590960755
By: Pam Muñoz Ryan Brian Selznick

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Biography Children Children's Books Childrens Historical Fiction History Non Fiction Picture Book Picture Books To Read

About this book

While still dressed in evening gowns, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt go on a night flight above Washington, D.C. on April 1933. Extensively researched, the story contains actual dialogue and facts of the account. Breathtaking illustrations tell the trip of these two American heroines as it might have been.

Reader's Thoughts

Ch_robyn Schaefer

Amelia and Eleanor (as in Earhart and Roosevelt) is, on a literal level, the story of two high profile woman who get together as friends for a dinner at the White House and end up going for a spontaneous flight over Washington D.C. It takes place on April 30, 1933, four years before Amelia mysteriously vanished somewhere over the South Pacific. The women look elegant as they sit down for a formal dinner at the white house, but it doesn’t take long before Amelia’s stunning description of flying at night, with the stars that “glitter all about and seem close enough to touch” inspires them to duck out for an adventurous flight over the capital city. Still in their fancy white gloves, Eleanor then takes Amelia on a liberating car ride throughout the city. (Historically, driving fast and free was a hobby of hers.) The women arrive back at the White House in time for dessert.On a deeper level, it is the story of two strong women, both outspoken, determined, and “daring and willing to try things other women [at that time:] wouldn’t even consider.” That night, these two women were on top of the world, both literally and figuratively. The black and white illustrations are impeccable, the depictions of the historical figures are dead on. The story, of course, is somewhat sensationalized. In reality, according to the author’s note, Amelia didn’t take controls that night due to regulations. The plane was actually flown by two male pilots from Eastern Air. Nevertheless, this title is great for an inside look at these two celebrated women, and would be a perfect book to read for Women’s History Month.

(NS) Becca

From Publishers WeeklyIn this sparkling picture book based on a true incident, Ryan (Riding Freedom, with Selznick) proves that Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt truly were "birds of a feather." Friends in real life, America's First Lady invited the "First Lady of the Air" to dinner at the White House in 1933. Eleanor, inspired by Amelia's descriptions of Washington viewed from her plane at night, accepts the pilot's offer of an after-dinner flight over the capital. Before dessert can be served, and over the protests of the Secret Service agents, the two are off to the airport and up in the sky, thrilling to the brilliance of the city below. Hewing closely to documented accounts, Ryan's inviting text adds drama and draws parallels between the two protagonists with fictional touches: she places them alone together in the plane (an author's note explains that in fact they were accompanied by two male pilots) and adds a final scene in which Eleanor takes Amelia for a zippy ride around the city in her brand-new car. Selznick's illustrations, black-and-white graphite accented with touches of purple pencil, both capture the vibrancy of his subjects and evoke the feel of a more glamorous era. A brief but compelling slice from the lives of two determined, outspoken and passionate women. Ages 5-9. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Beautiful artwork. I recently found this at my local library and had to bring it home. You can definitely learn a lot from children's books! My family has been a fan of Brian Selznick's work and I immediately recognized his art style on the front cover.The story of Amelia and Eleanor was interesting and geared toward children. It did include enough details and facts of the time period to be informative and fun at the same time. It was easy to understand and it opened a good discussion between myself and my young daughter about who these famous ladies were and how different it was to live back in the 1930's. Pam Munoz Ryan included a great historical summary in the back that explained her inspiration for the story and what facts she used and "embellished" to create the story. It also gives some interesting historical facts about each woman and their role in American history.


This piece of historical fiction is one of my least favorite that we read during the year. It always seems so contrived to me. Building enthusiasm for a flight at night strains me. :)The students seem okay with it. Based on the friendship between Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, the story has Amelia and G.P. (her husband, George Putnam) having dinner at the White House. The author has Mrs. Roosevelt describe it as "her" house. That language bothers me to no end as the White House does not belong to the president's family any more than it does to you.The language of the story is very good, however. Terms such as starstruck, outspoken, practical, brisk, elegant, elevations, marveled, and miniatures dot this short story.The ending is so fabricated that it couldn't be true, with Mrs. Roosevelt escaping the protection of the Secret Service to go joyriding. Ho hum.I'd skip this if given the choice . . .****18 October 201115 October 2010

Ariana Thomas

Grade/Interest Level: Upper ElementaryReading Level: 600 Lexile, Level P Guided ReadingGenre: Historical Fiction, Picture BookMain Characters: Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia EarhartSetting: April 1933, White House, Washington D.C., in flight on an Eastern Air Transport planePOV: narrator Based on a true story of two inspiring women who showed the world there are no boundaries, this picture book tells of the thrilling adventure these admirable historical figures embarked upon together. Good friends Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt decide to sneek away from a typical evening sharing dinner at the White House in April 1933. Together they captured an airplane and soared through the nights sky. The story highlights the significan similarities between these two courageous determined women to inspire readers to dream big like them. I have used this book before in my fieldwork placement last year with second grade students for an integrated social studies/language arts lesson within a thematic unit on "Women in History." I would definitely use this text again because I think it's a wonderful resource for a wide variety of learning objectives. For example, students can use graphic organizers to gather data from the text to then compare and contrast the lives and personalities of the two main characters. Depending on the grade level, many different research activities can be done after reading. For example, before reading the class can fill out a KWL chart on the two main characters, then research further information after reading the book. Students can also work in groups to research other historical women that have made significant impacts in history. Similarly, there are many opportunities for writing activities focusing on topics related to this reading. For example, students can be given various story prompts to choose from and write about.


Based on a real incident in the lives of two famous women, Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, this picture book describes how the famous aviator takes the First Lady for a spin in the middle of a dinner party in the White House and then imagines that turn about is fair play and has Eleanor take Amelia for a speedy ride in her new automobile, leaving the Secret Service agents behind. After their ground-breaking activities, the two women return to the dinner party and enjoy dessert. The text and graphite pencil and colored pencil illustrations allow the women's inner beauty and zest for life to shine. Readers feel as though they are present at the dinner and perched right over the shoulders of the two women as they fly through the air. Fans of Amelia and Eleanor will simply have to add this book to their classroom or home library.


This book was so beautiful and interesting! I learned a lot from it - I had no idea Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt knew each other, were friends, and went for a spontaneous night plane ride in Washington, D.C. A book like this is so important for students as they learn about history and the people who made a difference in their generation. It doesn't only talk about the things they did, but the people they knew, the fun they had, and the close friends they had - showing that they were really a lot like us. This is a great book for a 2nd to 5th grade classroom, I would say. It is a wonderful resource for students learning about biographies and people of history.

Lisa Vegan

When I borrowed this book from the library, at the same time as many other books, this one stood out because of the striking black and white cover illustration. At first, I wasn’t sure I was wild about the picture but it sure got my attention. Then, I was won over by the black and white illustrations throughout the book. They’re so big & vivid: I could see the blue in the scarf, the pink on the cake, the colorful flowers; I was able to “see” everything in color. The black & white also seemed authentic because the events take place in the 1930s, when movies and photos were in black & white.I had not known that Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart were friends or that Eleanor received her student airplane pilot’s license. The events described in this story are snippets about two fascinating women.There’s an author’s note in the back of the book that tells of the research that went into this book. Perhaps instead of its place on my biography and history shelves it belongs on my historical-fiction shelf. Events were slightly changed, but this is basically a true story, as much a non-fiction book as many memoirs and biographies, so I’ll leave it as a non-fiction book.This was a fun book because the fun these women had and the enjoyment they felt was described so well, in both the illustrations and the story. This is one of six books for March about “outstanding women” that I’m reading for the Picture-Book Club at Goodreads’s Children's Books group. These two women were certainly remarkalbe and this book is an excellent selection for the upcoming discussion.

Amy Rae

Brian Selznick's amazing illustrations accompany a charming incident in the lives of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. A wonderful way to start talking about two amazing women with elementary school children.

Jason Lilly

I picked this book up from the library mostly because of Brian Selznick's illustrations. After being mesmerized by The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it was great to see Selznick use his talent for a slightly younger audience.Amelia and Eleanor tells the story of the real life friendship between Amelia Earheart & Eleanor Roosevelt. The story, told simply but effectively by Pam Munoz Ryan, focuses on an enchanting evening when the two women enjoy a night flight from D.C. to Baltimore & back. Selznick enhances Ryan's words with accurrate & beautiful black & white sketches of the famous women, Earheart's plane, the White House, & a gorgeous two page scene of D.C. at night.If you enjoy children's books with captivating illustrations, you will love this book.

Jenny Young

Age:Grades 2-4Genre:historical fictionDiversity:feminism; independenceIllustrations:Illustrations look like they were drawn with pencil.Personal response:The book being based off of a true event makes it so much better to me. It shows powerful females during a time in which it was probably unusual for females to exert this type of behavior. I really enjoyed how the similarities of the two women were conveyed and the inclusion of the dessert recipe at the back of the book.Curricular or programming connections:This book would be good for a social studies lesson on these two historical female figures and also the geography of the area described in the story.

Josh Wagner

This book tell the story of Amelia Earhart and Elanor Roosevelt, two very important women in our history. While meeting at the White House for dinner, dressed in elegant gowns, the two decide to have a little adventure. They find a plane, make their way to it, and Amelia flies them around. Upon landing and facing some media, the two then go for a ride in Elanor's new car. This book may not seem historically important, but when put in context it is hugely important. This was a time when women were not seen as equals to men, so for one woman to fly a plane and another to be driving fancy cars was unheard of. Amelia was famous for her flying, but to be accompanied by the first lady on an impromptu flight was huge, and this book tells that story very well.

Zach Naegele

In this book Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, long time friends, join for dinner at the White House. While enjoying their dinner they talk of the wonders of flying at night. Amelia and Eleanor decide to go for a flight around Washington to see the city at night. Amelia hops in the cockpit and flies the plane flawlessly around the city. When they return they are abuzz with the wonders they have seen. Next Eleanor hops in her new car with Amelia and they drive together on a straight away road with the wind blowing at their face. This true story shows how these women expressed their freedom and independence.


What a great story about 2 powerful women in their day, developing a friendship and sharing a plane ride! The characterizations were exciting and the illustrations were utterly captivating, done in black and white (to reflect the era) and wonderfully reflective of the adventure and excitement these two women found in their lives and the connection they made with one another.

Jennifer Weiss

This is a story about two of the most influential and determined women in history. One is the First Lady and one is the first women to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. The two women are great friends and enjoy to go on adventures together. This takes place during a time where most women did not have rights or the luxury to do certain actives such as drive a car. There was much speculation about if women should be allowed to do the things these ladies were doing. I love the illustrations, even though they are in black and white, there is much detail and the illustrations are incredibly realistic looking. Also, since it is done in black and white it sets the time era. I would recommend this book for teachers of elementary school mainly. This shows girls and boys that you do not always have to conform to society and the stereotypes associated to them. It also gives information about two very important women in history.

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