The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane
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The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  391 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane flight, and the men behind it.
Paperback, 129 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Holiday House (first published 1991)
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George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy HawkingSnowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs MartinIf You Lived Here by Giles LarocheBalloons Over Broadway by Melissa SweetChemistry by April Chloe Terrazas
Best Children's Nonfiction
47th out of 166 books — 49 voters
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Newbery Medal Honor Books
228th out of 306 books — 243 voters

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This was given as additional reading material for my son's history class. Whatever. First of all, this is an adult book, long, boring, and in black and white. There is no desire to read this book, from me or my children. The only person that I could see liking this book would be a lover of all things airplane. I tried to read it, but fell asleep after a few pages. In any case, not something children would be interested in reading, although it has some good pictures of the Wright brothers and the...more
In The Wright Brothers How They Invented the Airplane, author Russell Freedman draws the reader in to the familiar tale of two brothers who over 100 years ago took to the sky on their glider. I listened on CD to the unabridged version of the text performed by Knighton Bliss. Bliss’ evenly paced recording brought Freedman’s words to life. As you listen, the text takes on the tone of a PBS documentary sans video. The listener hears about the close-knit Wright family, we learn that the patriarch Bi...more
Lars Guthrie
Russell Freedman’s books are just fantastic. In each one, he focuses in on an area of history that fascinates him, connects the dots into a cohesive narrative that tells a story with a beginning, middle and end, and then enriches the verbal with visuals that match up perfectly, usually from primary sources. And he does so in a hundred pages or so.

‘The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane’ is no exception. Freedman’s got a good story. Wilbur and Orville Wright were a couple of nerdy ki...more
In this Newberry Honor book, the author (who won a Newberry Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography) relies heavily on 94 photographs to tell the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright's historic scientific breakthrough. Many of the pictures were taken by the Wright brothers or their associates, giving the text considerable first-hand credibility. Although the book is sized like a picture book and the font is larger than 12-point, the text is considerably more dense. The author gives a brief biography a...more
1. Classification: Biography/Autobigraphy junior books

2. Summary: This is such an amazing biography on the Wright Brothers. This story is full of facts, quotes, and pictures of the Wright Brothers from children all the way up to death. Follow Wilbur and Orville Wright as they start out as bicycle mechanics and evolve into one of histories greatest wonders.

3. Critique:

a.) I grew up spliting my years between Hampton Roads and Kitty Hawk where my grandparents have a summer beach house. I have alwa...more
Amanda Toombs
Genre: Junior Book—Biography/Autobiography

Summary: Russell Freedman provides readers with a better understanding on the lives of two brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright as they head through many journeys and hardships. Many pictures and much information do a good job of showing readers these journeys up until they accomplished the biggest one of all: the invention of the airplane.


a. Personally, I think the greatest strength of this title is the information about the two brothers lives...more
Russell Freedman has been recognized for his ability to construct compelling and dramatic narrative based strictly on documented research, especially first-person accounts, and he doesn’t disappoint with this book. He wavers a bit chronologically at first to establish his themes: the monumental achievement of the Wright brothers and the diligence and commitment of these twin-like brothers that precipitated it. After chapter three, Freedman mostly maintains a straightforward chronological momentu...more
Ellie Slama
The Wright Brothers biography was an amazing story. When I picked it off the shelf I thought of how much I disliked reading nonfiction books. But I got into the book and I loved it. I really enjoyed how Russell Freedman built up to the moment when the Wright brothers (Orville and Wilbur) designed the original motor propelled airplane. The brothers worked day and night as hard as they could. Finally they accomplished the extremely difficult (what everyone thought impossible) job of completing th...more
Overall it felt a little bogged down with technical descriptions--could have done with fewer "data dumps", technical drawings, that type of thing. The real story here is the Wright brothers' perseverance and the strong brotherly bond that existed between them. I was surprised to see this is by the same author as Lincoln: A Photobiography which flowed so beautifully cover to cover.

"Since the earliest times, earthbound humans had envied the freedom of birds and dreamed of imitating them. An ancie...more
Lindsey Feldpausch
This book was so exciting. At first it looked a little long to read to my kids, but we split it up over an entire week and every time a chapter ended, I was sad we couldn't move onto the next one. I learned more from this book than any other on the Wright brothers. I am not an airplane enthusiast, but this book had me marvel at how they invented the airplane.
A quick yet informative nonfiction about something that has been on my mind lately (because of booking a puppet show, living near Kitty Hawk but never making it there to visit, and recently passing through Dayton). I was wondering how much I would appreciate this book that mentioned all of the pictures taken along the journey, when I learned that the 3rd CD contained the photos. Really neat to see. A fun history to learn about and not too overwhelming with a bunch of information. Little glimpses...more
What unusual people the Wright brothers were! Despite a four-year difference in age, the two grew up to be as close as twins, a patient bachelor pair who methodically set out to prove the possibility of powered, controlled human flight. Just as methodically, they promoted their new flying machine, made lots of money, and overcame the U. S. government's stubborn lack of interest. This book is written with precision and detail. Yet, since it is aimed at young readers, it is clear and easy to read....more
I surprisingly really enjoyed this book. I was a bit nervous that it would be too dry to keep my interest but instead I found myself excited to read about the journey these 2 brothers took while inventing the airplane. I wish the book would have had a few simple diagrams that showed parts of the plane etc for those of us who aren't real savvy on that kind of a thing. What I really liked was the comradary of the brothers and their amazing accomplishments. Rather than becoming discouraged when the...more
(INFORMATIONAL) I chose to read this book because it was by the same author as the biography I read about Eleanor Roosevelt. This author does a great job of not making the reading "boring", but still gets the point across. It explains what took place to change American history forever. The story emphasizes the events that led up to the first successful flight of the Wright brothers and the improvements made thereafter. Although I'm usually not into this stuff, I actually found this book very int...more
The story of the Wright Brothers is truly inspiring, Russell Freedman did an excellent job of blending the facts without making it feel like a textbook. I found myself anxious to see how things would turn out, and I loved seeing the pictures that the Wright brothers took themselves, it really added to the story and made the history seem more alive. I'd recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Brick V
i just red it for my reading class for a reading bingo so yeah not really interesting basically all it was is just pictures and not alot of writting what i thought was interesting was that they used twigs and branches for there first little hang gliders. the maby second or third plane they tried was on the top of a house boat and they failed it was like it went off and then it just crashed.
H Wells Lucas
A captivating book with tons of rare photographs taken by the Wright Bros. as they took the journey from
dream of flying to man’s first powered flight. Complete with an in-depth exploration of their lives, the book
also goes into easy-to-understand details about how manned flight evolved and how it works.
This is a very interesting biography about the Wright Brothers and their journey to invent the Airplane. It provides a lot of good facts and information about the Brother, and what hardships they had to face. It is a pretty long book, but I highly recommend it for older readers who like biographies.
Heidi Rodeback
Russell Freedman scores again. If, like the Rodebacks, you enjoy aviation and science projects, you will marvel at the Wright brothers, their steady relationship, their ingenuity, their persistence, their careful and methodical approach to experimentation, and ultimately at the grace of their invention.
Thomas Bell
I think this documentary is exceptional. I love how most of the pictures were actually taken and developed by the Wright brothers themselves. Russell Freedman did an excellent job making the story exciting and demonstrating the awe these events placed on the world at that time.
Mrs. Foley
From Follett, "Follows the lives of the Wright brothers and describes how they developed the first airplane."

Interesting book with great photos. I read it for a Children's Literature Book Group. We were reading Newbery honored books that are non-fiction.
I found it an intersesting book it talked a lot about their projects. I would have liked to know more about their personal life and how they felt on different things.
(Biography/Informational) (Newberry Honor Book)
This book was clearly written. It would be good for a younger audience. The photographs were wonderful.
Sydney Hettinger
This book is an informational book on the Wright Brothers history and how they built the airplane. It has a lot of great pictures throughout the book also.
Russell Freedman's books are always so interesting. You can tell he has thoroughly researched his subjects, and he presents them very well.
Another great biography by Freedman. These two men were inspired-- how else could they have figured so much out so quickly? Awesome book.
Great short book detailing the Wright brothers attempts to engineer an aeroplane.
Russell Freedman writes a great informational book. Read anyting by him!
Sara Taylor-hughes
Real pictures. Great for student who are interested upper elementary.
of interest to anyone who has an interest in the history of flight
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Russell Freedman is the award-winning author of 47 books, some of which have been translated into a diverse number of languages, including Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish, Flemish, Arabic and Bengali. But Freedman wasn't always a children's book writer.

He grew up in San Francisco and attended the University of California, Berkeley, and then worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Pre...more
More about Russell Freedman...
Lincoln: A Photobiography Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Bank Street College of Education Flora Stieglitz Straus Award (Awards)) The War to End All Wars: World War I

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