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many of you have ever flown a plane? Not just have ridden in the
plane…but have actually been at the controls of the plane! Thirteen-year-old
Birch is learning to fly with her grandfather and it’s not always going
[EXCERPT FROM BOOK]
"Take the stick a minute," her grandfather said.
"Take the control stick."
"What--wait, I'm not ready. I was in the middle of a poem."
"Hold the stick while I fold my map."
"Pop, wait. I don't know which way to go. I -- "
"Hold it like it is." She could hear the impatience in her grandfather's
voice through the earphones.
"All right, but I am not ready for this."
"She grasped the control stick uneasily in both hands. Now her throat
was dry for a new reason. First from excitement...now from nervousness.
"I'm not good at climbing! I told you that yesterday! I can't
see! I don't know where I'm going!" Panic made her voice shake.
It was as if she were alone in the plane. She strained forward, but
all she could see over the cowling was the sky. "I have to see the
horizon or something. I--"
"Hold it steady."
"I'm trying! Pop!"
"All right," her grandfather snapped. "I've got it!"
Birch sank back against the seat. She rested for a moment with her eyes
closed. Her heart pounded.
In a voice that shook, she said, "I'm sorry if you're irritated with me,
but just because I flew for fifteen minutes yesterday, that doesn't mean
I'm a professional pilot."
And that’s just the start of their trip across the entire US, from South
Carolina to California. Along the way, Birch and her grandfather
will met interesting people, see lots of landscape and have one or two
scary moments…including the phone call that Birch must make to her parents,
letting them know she is flying cross-country without their permission?
Will Birch make it all the way to California? Read COAST TO COAST
by Betsy Byars to find out! (Melissa Henderson, email@example.com,
Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, IL)