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Elizabeth Wein was born in New York, and grew up in England, Jamaica and Pennsylvania. She is married with two children and now lives in Perth, Scotland. Elizabeth is a member of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.
She was awarded the Scottish Aero Club's Watson Cup for best student pilot in 2003 and it was her love of flying that partly inspired the idea for Code Name Verity.
Photo Credit David Ho 2018
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | A life-changing opportunity for a teenage pilot brings risk and excruciating choices in this accessible WWII thriller from the author of Firebird and White Eagles. Ingrid was six when the Nazis came to power and, since she has a severe stutter, her mother and father feared a new law ordering the sterilisation of less able children would apply to her. With her parents desperate to prove their daughter has worth, and since she’s a talented glider pilot who dreams of being like her heroine, the intrepid test pilot Hanna Reitsch, Ingrid attends her Cousin Jonni’s flying school. Though she’s confident in the air, Ingrid seems forever doomed to plummet back to earth, not least when she’s castigated for her behaviour in front of a high-ranking regional Nazi leader. “Your daughter is a disgrace to Germany,” he informs her horrified father. Terrified she might be taken to a camp, at seventeen she becomes Cousin Jonni’s junior flying instructor, and her heart soars when none other than Hanna Reitsch enlists her assistance on a propaganda tour. But when Hanna reveals shocking truths about a secret mission, Ingrid is left feeling that “there was an ugly crack in the shiny glass of my new Luftwaffe career” as she faces a seemingly impossible decision. Alongside the gripping action and emotion of Ingrid’s tumultuous journey (readers will be on the edge of their seats as her allegiances are tested to the max), the author provides fascinating insights into life in Germany during the war, and this accessible novella will also prompt discussion around roles women worked in during WWI, and the ethics of patriotism. Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | June 2020 Book of the Month | Teeming with drama and compelling code-cracking action, this WWII thriller is driven by the lives of three young people determined to make their mark on the war effort, and by the life-affirming relationship between fifteen-year-old Louisa and the elderly woman she’s employed to look after. Aspiring pilot Louisa is alone in the world. Her white English mother was killed in a London bomb blast, and her black Jamaican dad died on a ship that was torpedoed only three days after her mother died. Through her grief brave Louisa “burns to fight back” and takes a job looking after Jane, an elderly German woman who’s been imprisoned in an alien detainment camp. While travelling to stay with Jane’s niece in her Scottish pub, they form a beautiful bond, finding common ground in their love of music and the fact that they’re both outsiders in Britain - Jane because she’s German, and Louisa because she’s mixed race and subjected to racism. In Scotland they meet fellow outsider, Ellen, a driver for the local RAF airfield who tries to hide her traveller heritage. Ellen’s active role makes Louisa more determined to do something herself, so she takes her chance when a German defector lands at the airfield and leaves a codebreaking Enigma machine. It’s not long before Louisa, Ellen and young flight lieutenant Jamie step-up their war efforts, as their story builds to an impeccably conducted, pulse-quickening crescendo. Alongside being a gripping thriller, this is a truly moving, inspirational novel. Louisa’s passion for music and learning, her wit and ambition, are exhilaratingly infectious. I’d love to know what she does next.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Elizabeth Wein’s thrilling new World War II story stars a young Polish pilot – a female one. Kristina Tomiak and her twin brother are members of the White Eagles, Poland’s air force, and at the forefront of their country’s resistance when the Nazis invade. Things quickly turn bad and Kristina is forced to flee in her RWD-8 plane, together with an unexpected passenger. As she makes her escape, her destination changes until finally she is heading towards England. The story is full of excitement and gives readers a broad yet detailed understanding of those early days of the war, and of flying a plane too. Published by Barrington Stoke this is written to be accessible to all readers including those with dyslexia but I recommend it to any reader fascinated by history and the brave individuals who make it.
A super-readable page-turner spiced with absorbing historical detail, and shot-through with the vitality of an unforgettable heroine. Spearheaded by the author’s research into Soviet female WW2 combat pilots, this tells the remarkable story of Nastia. “I was born in a nation of war. I grew up in the shadow of war. And, like everyone else my age, I had been waiting all my life for the “future war”’, she declares with characteristic verve. An exceptional pilot, and the daughter of revolutionaries, Nastia must fight to fly alongside her male peers as her Motherland joins the Second World War. Then, when the fierce air battles begin – conveyed here to fiercely gripping effect – secrets explode and threaten to send her into freefall. Action, adventure, political conflict, personal battles, plus plenty of grit and determination, Firebird is a feast of historical fineness from the Carnegie Medal shortlisted author of Code Name Verity and, since it’s published by Barrington Stoke, it’s also perfectly placed to stoke-up a love of story in reluctant and struggling teen readers.
May 2017 Book of the Month | In Julie Beaufort-Stuart Elizabeth Wein has created a charming, original character, with a distinctive and irresistible voice. We meet her here as a teenager returned from boarding school to spend a last summer on her grandfather’s Scottish estate. The old man has died and the estate is being sold to cover his debts. Things quickly take a dark turn when Julie is knocked unconscious while out alone, and it’s also revealed that a scholar cataloguing the estate valuables has vanished. The blame falls on a family of Travellers. Set in 1938, the story is one of prejudice and class division as well as a coming-of-age story, and mystery. Wein is a very good writer, deftly weaving all the different strands together and creating a vivid portrait of the time and the setting as well as of her central character. Julie also appears in the equally riveting Code Name Verity, and The Pearl Thief is a kind of prequel.
Shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2015 12-16 age category This is a book that takes its readers soaring through the skies over the Simien Mountains, bearded vultures circling overhead, in an unusual and unforgettable adventure. Emilia and Teo have been flying almost since before they can walk: their mothers, Rhoda and Delia, are stunt pilots, daring young women in the early flying machines. When Delia is killed in an accident, Rhoda follows her best friend’s dream and takes them all to live in Ethiopia, the only country in Africa never to be colonised. Their idyllic life there is torn apart when Mussolini’s army invades. The history is fascinating, the descriptions of Ethiopia and the scenes in the air breath-taking, and the characters vividly alive, it’s exceptionally good. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2013 | Highly praised for Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire is an equally gripping story of a young female pilot’s struggle for survival in desperate conditions after she is forced down deep behind the enemy lines in Germany. Rose, a young American over in England as an ATA pilot, records her early days in the UKas she trains and forms strong friendships with the other girls. But Rose wants more action! Flying to France looks like her big break but nothing prepares her for the horrors ahead. Incarcerated in a fearsome German detention camp, Rose uncovers hidden atrocities and tests her own courage to its limits. __________________________________ The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. The full shortlist for the Children's Book Award is... Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery. The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton Goth Girl: and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Keep up to date with the Costa Book Awards @CostaBookAwards
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 | This is one of the most inspiring books for the YA market that we've seen for a while. The quality of the writing is so smooth and the storyline so compelling that you'll find you've got to the end in no time. The relationship between the two main young protagonists in World War Two is brilliantly drawn and the account of one of them following capture by the Gestapo draws the reader in to such a degree that you feel you're right there with her. Don't miss this one.