How do you choose which book to read when given a lengthy list of fantastic titles by YWAM Publishing? Easy. Pick the one that not only can you read the amazing story but go to the place where such history was made! YWAM Publishing offered us on the Review Crew several choices from their Heroes of History and Christian Heroes: Then & Now series of books. When I saw Heroes of History- Orville Wright on the list, my choice was obvious. I am fortunate to live only a few hours from Kitty Hawk, so you can easily see why I chose that one.
About Orville Wright – The Flyer
Every time I get in my vehicle, I am reminded of the Wright Brothers’ story, as “First In Flight” is proudly displayed on my license plate. The story of their success is nothing short of astonishing. It’s hard to imagine that what started out as a small gift from their father – a toy helicopter made of cork, bamboo, and paper would turn into an era of aviation. The day after Orville received the toy helicopter, all he could think about was how he could improve it. Could it fly twice as high or twice as long if it were bigger? What if it had more propellers? The year was 1878, and there were no answers to such questions.
The story of the brothers’ ingenuity was evident from the very beginning. The Wright Brothers established a successful print shop early on, then a thriving bicycle shop. They were always thinking. Always tinkering. Always observing. Wilbur’s observations of hawks and buzzards led to evenings of long talks with Orville. These conversations were the beginnings for the design and construction of the airplane. After many sketches and constructing wings, they we ready to test a kite that moved like they wanted. The experiment was a success. The brothers soon set out to find a private, windy location suitable for flying a glider. It was in the fall of 1900 when they first stepped foot on the sands of Kitty Hawk, NC. Many tests, tweaks, and trips back and forth from Dayton to Kitty Hawk were made in those years of trying to make a machine that would allow man to fly. Their persistence and optimism certainly paid off that cold day on December 17, 1903.
The first time in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without reduction of speed, and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it had started.”Orville Wright
The story does not end here, as there is so much more revealed in the story of Orville Wright. Success, sadness, and controversy are constants in the lives of the brothers. When Orville died of a heart-attack in 1948, the minister conducting the service praised Orville as, “a man who was just one of folks like us – middle class, mid-Western American, with simple, devout parents, and a simple and modest way of life.” The book goes on to say, “as Orville’s body was lowered into the ground, four jet fighters circled overhead in formation and dipped their wings. Orville Wright would have loved the sight.”
How we used Orville Wright – The Flyer
Our family used this as our morning read-aloud. I was as much interested as the kids (7th and 9th grade). YWAM also provided us with a downloadable study guide. The guide is filled with an introduction to how to use the guide, key quotes, chapter questions, student explorations, social studies, and much more in an 83-page pdf. There were absolutely so many ideas packed in this guide, you could have a well-rounded history curriculum using just a handful of these books! Maps, a timeline, and fact sheet are also included. We used a few of the chapter questions orally for spot checking. We also had great discussions about how the story of Orville Wright tied in with current events, as well as the bond between the two brothers.
Of course our big culminating event was a trip to Kitty Hawk! Thanks to Heroes of History- Orville Wright the kids did not rush through the museum! It was great to see them slow down and examine the displays and read the descriptions. We were able to see the exact place where that first flight took place, and the actual length it flew. I couldn’t help but feel goosebumps! There is also a recreation of the infamous photo turned into a life-size sculpture that you can climb on and lay right next to Orville! We also visited the 60-foot monument atop Kill Devil Hill marking the site of the hundreds of glider flights that came before engine-powered flights. It’s amazing to see these actual places that we had been reading about, and think about the excitement and struggles the brothers faced.
I’m looking forward to reading a few others I purchased at a homeschool convention last year that we haven’t read yet – and they have the unit study! YWAM is always a popular spot at conventions this time of year, so be sure to grab a few! I’m not the only one who read a great book from YWAM Publishing! Check out what other reviewers chose just below.