I’m happy to partner with RockStar Book Tours to bring you a guest post from Kathryn Lasky, author of Night Witches. See below for more information about the book, as well as a guest post from Lasky!
Title: NIGHT WITCHES
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Pub. Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Fifteen-year-old Valya knows what it feels like to fly. She’s a pilot who’s always felt more at home soaring through the sky than down on earth. But since the Germans surrounded Stalingrad, Valya’s been forced to stay on the ground and watch her city crumble.
When her mother is killed during the siege, Valya is left with one burning desire: to join up with her older sister, a member of the famous and feared Night Witches — a brigade of young female pilots.
Using all her wits, Valya manages to get past the German blockade and find the Night Witches’ base . . . and that’s when the REAL danger starts. The women have been assigned a critical mission. If they succeed, they’ll inflict serious damage on the Nazis. If they fail, they’ll face death . . . or even worse horrors.
Historical fiction master Lasky sheds light on the war’s unsung heroes — daredevil girls who took to the skies to fight for their country — in an action-packed thrill ride that’ll leave you electrified and breathless.
Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.
Book 15, The War of the Ember, is currently the last book in the Ga’Hoole series. The Rise of a Legend is the 16th book but is a prequel to the series. Lasky has also written Guide Book To The Great Tree and Lost Tales Of Ga’Hoole which are companion books.
Q: Is Valya based on a particular female pilot? If so, who, and why did you choose her? If not, which one do you think she is most like?
I would say Valya was inspired by Nadezhda Popova. Five years ago or so I read the obituary of Nadezhda Popova, the last Night Witch, in the New York Times. I was instantly fascinated. She had flown nearly one thousand missions as a night bomber in the 46th Taman Guard Regiment. But I really had to invent Valya—her family, her background, and her own history. In many ways as I delved deeper into the other Night Witches, particularly their combat experiences Valya became a kind of composite of many of them.
Q: Why are stories like Night Witches valuable now? What can young female-identifying and other people learn from them?
I don’t feel there’s been a more crucial time for women, particularly young women, to find stories that recognize what females can do; stories that reaffirm the strength and the power of females. We, and when I say we, I mean the world, is depriving itself of a valuable resource unless we understand the power of women. In the Middle Ages it was possible to be blind to women and their value beyond the home and children. But that was due to ignorance. What is happening is not ignorance but a willful blindness in particular regarding unequal pay, issues concerning women’s health and reproductive rights, and full participation in our democracy. This is outrageous. We can’t blame ignorance, only prejudice and cynicism. This is not the middle ages. Those excuses don’t work anymore. It’s the 21st century.
The Battle of Stalingrad probably would have been lost if it was not for the women night bomber pilots. They scared the hell out of the Nazis and chased them all the way back to Berlin. The Nazis feminine ideal restricted women to hearth and home. Very few German women participated in World War 2 in a significant way. Most of those who had been conscripted into the work force were from concentration camps—in short, Jews and gypsies. But women were never in combat roles. In Russia it was much different. Women were working in the Russian tank factory in Stalingrad building what became the world famous T-34 tanks that were vital to the defense of Stalingrad. Many of the Night Witches had backgrounds in math, science and engineering. It is interesting to note that Germany was often called the Fatherland and the Russia was called The Motherland. The Soviets did value women in a way unimaginable to the Germans. And guess what: the Germans lost the war!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of NIGHT WITCHES, US Only!
Click HERE to enter!
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