By Vicki Little
“Kids like to read non-fiction. It is a lifetime experience that keeps coming back to you when you meet a certain person or hear a name or even are at an event.” –Alan Biermann
It has been said that the way to get children excited about learning is to give them something to be excited about. If that is true, and if I could bottle up the enthusiasm that Alan Biermann has for Chuck Yeager’s story, I could get thousands of kids excited about aviation. Because that is how passionate Mr. Biermann is about true American heroes. When his children were young, Biermann found it frustrating that it was so hard to find good books about true heroes. Ultimately he decided to do something about the lack of good non-fiction heroic stories, so he wrote his own. The choice of what to write about was easy since he has his own hero. He wrote what he calls “The story behind the story” of Chuck Yeager and his life-changing feat of breaking through the sound barrier.
Mr. Biermann, a former Duke University Professor, enthusiastically believes that the Chuck Yeager autobiography is one of the “greatest stories of the 20th century, ” and he wants everyone to know about the unique man who was the first person in the world to break the sound barrier. It is the story of a man who came from nothing but had a vision and a love that made him face the dangerous feat that everyone else had tragically failed. This same drive ultimately allowed Yeager to continue to fly in WWII when he otherwise would not have been allowed to. Yeager is a dynamic, strong, and determined hero. He literally flew into situations that he knew no one else survived, and in doing so, he changed the world. Alan Biermann is a vivacious, dynamic, fun and determined writer who wants to bring stories of real aviation heroes to children around the world to teach them about the historical and educational significance of Chuck Yeager and those like him.
Mr. Biermann has an amazing knack for understanding his readers. He is able to turn an event that happened years ago into something a reader can feel they are just hearing about. Biermann believes that children love to read non-fiction because it is easy to relate to. In both speaking and writing, he uses descriptive words and phrases to make the subject matter come to life in a way that has you eager to turn the page or to hear the next sentence. When my son read the book, he told me that he loved the sentence where the “jet engine screamed.” Such a simple sentence, but one that allows the reader to imagine the piercing sound.
Avid book-lovers will appreciate the beautiful pictures that brought the story to life. Pictures that were not easy to come by. Alan Biermann mistakenly thought that his search for an illustrator would be easy, but after putting out the request at multiple universities he quickly found that not only was there NOT a plethora of artists just waiting for a job to come along but that not everyone was qualified to create the specific images he was looking for. He did not want the wonderful works of Chuck Yeager to be cartoonish or incomplete. He wanted beautiful depictions that were both realistic and detailed. He gives plenty of credit to his illustrator Yaejin Lim, to whom he credits with helping to teach him humility.
Mr. Biermann’s goal is humbling as well. He wants to write more of these heroic stories. In fact, he has already written one on Bob Hoover that has yet to be illustrated or published. But he isn’t writing them for fame or fortune. What he wants is to get heroic, relate-able and true stories into the hands of kids worldwide. He wants kids to get excited about real stories of heroes that were once kids just like them — books about regular people who have changed the world in which they live.
Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic is a wonderful story about a true American hero. You can learn more about the book and the author at supersonicflyer.com, as well as purchase the book here: Chuck Yeager Goes Supersonic: An Action-Packed, True Flying Adventure.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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