I'm the first woman pilot, but I won't be the last--
every little girl who sees me up here in blue sky
will surely grow up with dreams
of flying too!"
Aida de Acosta is known as the First Woman of Powered Flight.
When she visited Paris she was intrigued by the dirgibles she saw.
She was in the air before Amelia or even the Wright brothers. She's
one of the fascinating people readers will meet in Margarita Engle's
Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics. In a letter to readers at the
beginning of the book, Engle (who is an award winning Cuban American
children's book author) states:
"This is not a book about the most famous Hispanics. These
poems are about a variety of amazing people who lived in geographic
regions now included in the United States. They are people who have
faced life's creative challenges in creative ways. Some were
celebrated in their lifetmes but have been forgotten by history.
Others achieved lasting fame."
Some of the others include:
*Baruj Benacerraf who was inspired by childhood asthma to study the
genetics of allergies and won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Medicine;
*Pura Belpre who rose up from the garment industry to become the New
York Public Library system's Spanish Children's Specialist;
*Louis Agassiz Fuertes who was considered the greatest bird artist ever;
and *Ynes Mexia, a botanist who discovered over five hundred plant
species in Mexico and South America.
My favorite was Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, an Agricultural
Extension who, even after losing a leg, traveled to remote rural areas
to teach safe food preparation in four languages, helped poor women
how to preserve food to sell, and wrote cookbooks that made
traditional recipes healthier. After she "retired" she was a UN
representative and trained Peace Corps volunteers.
Many people in the United States, often influenced by those high
in government, think drug dealer, welfare leech, or wetback when they
hear a Hispanic name. The publication of Bravo! could not possibly
have been more timely.
On a personal note, I had a Cinderella evening. I went to a dinner
and dance honoring the Young African Leaders. The menu was African
food. My new friend, Victoria, from Ghana invited me to sit with
her. We had a really good program with six of the Africans giving
their talks. And then what we all were waiting for--the dancing. I
didn't get home til nearly midnight. Joey cat was anxiously waiting
up for me and happy to see me safely home.
A great big shout out goes out to our wonderful Young African
Leaders. Bravo for coming here for such a challenging intensive
program. They will take our hearts back to their home countries.
Sent from my iPod