In honor of Women’s History Month and our yearlong theme centered around World War II, we recommend “The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee” by Julie Leung with illustrations by Julie Kwon. This is a great book for young readers interested in learning about the remarkable story of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

The Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 led to the creation of the WASP the following year. With men being sent overseas to fight, women were needed to test planes straight off the assembly lines and deliver them to different locations on the home front. Of the 25,000 women who applied, only 1,879 were accepted, and Hazel was one of only 1,074 to complete training to be a full-fledged WASP.

She was one of only 132 women qualified to “fly pursuit” meaning she could pilot fighter planes like the P-63 Kingcobras. Her story is told by Julie Leung in a way that is easy to understand just how difficult, dangerous, and inspiring it was to be a WASP.

Extend Your Learning:

Use these comprehension questions with your kids or students to build their literacy skills! Print out this PDF for classroom use.

  1. What is the main idea of the story? What details let us know that this is the main idea?
  2. What does WASP stand for?
  3. Why did the farmer in Kansas chase Hazel when she landed on his farm?
  4. What was dangerous about being a WASP pilot?
  5. Which illustration stands out the most to you? Why do you like it?  
  6. State your opinion: Do you think it was difficult to be a Chinese American woman in the military during World War II? Why or why not?
  • Use some paper and art supplies to draw what you think the sky looks like from up high in an airplane. Then think about the ground, how would it look from so high up? What do you think Hazel liked about being up so high in the sky?
  • We’d love to see your creations! Tag us on Instagram @nvmmedu

If you are one of our central Ohio neighbors, check out the book at your local branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library where the book is available! Then come to the NVMM and learn more about unique Veteran stories that can be found throughout American History.

WEDS-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
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The NVMM is Open on MLK Day!

$1 Admission on Jan. 16 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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