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Heavy Medal Mock Newbery Finalist: THE RISE AND FALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH by Candace Fleming

Introduced by Heavy Medal Award Committee member Emily Mroczek (Bayci)

THE RISE AND RALL OF CHARLES LINDBERGH studies the life and evolution of a controversial American figure.

THE RISE AND FALL has already been heavily discussed on Heavy Medal and the comments are definitely worth taking into consideration.

Candace Fleming thoroughly uses primary sources and analyzes situations in depth to explore a difficult and complex individual … did she delve deep enough to win the Newbery Medal?

Definitely enough to merit consideration.

The title “rise and fall” blatantly conveys the theme along with the sections. Part I conveys his upbringing how Lindbergh’s heroic flight propelled him to celebrity status. While Part II relays his plunge from glory with his admiration of Hitler, support of America First beliefs of white supremacy and threats against American Jews.

I appreciated the foreshadowing, specifically descriptions of Lindbergh’s grandfather and father’s sense of entitlement, anti-war sentiments and unconventional marriage: all elements that shaped Charles.

It’s also important to acknowledge the parallels to current events: how the prologue’s America First rally mirrors a MAGA rally and how Charles’ views could change quickly or not make sense; for example his strong belief that the US would lose the war, while he still desired to fight.

To quote the previous introduction by Olivia Thomas, “There is a lot of information packed into THE RISE AND FALL—a 6-page bibliography’s worth of information, with 28 pages of source notes. I don’t think I came across one page without a primary source quote. Yet it isn’t dense or unreadable.”

This meticulous research and the extensive use of Charles and Anne’s journals makes their story very readable, although it is still difficult to stomach their words and actions.

Fleming’s use of their voices can seem overly generous to their characters. Should there be more descriptions from friends and families to provide a more balanced approach to the characters?

I was particularly struck by the contrast of Charles to Anne’s mother’s reaction to reading Anne’s controversial and racist book. Also by watching how several of Charles’ relationships became strained as his character evolved. To me these were some of the strongest moments in the book.

A final strong aspect of Fleming’s writing is the delineation of setting. Easily overshadowed by the character and their actions, I think setting is what truly propels the book along and makes it such a rich narrative. You can truly picture every home Charles lived in- from the first house that burned down to living with his mother in college, to all the places Charles rented and moved to over the years. Anne discusses how some homes fit their personality while others seemed like more of a joke.

It is details like these that truly propel this narrative to greatness. Is it enough for a nonfiction biography to win Newbery status? Is this complex character developed deeply enough to warrant a significant contribution to American literature? Let’s discuss.

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Steven Engelfried About Steven Engelfried

Steven Engelfried is the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at sengelfried@yahoo.com.

Comments

  1. WOW~ Because I had not yet read this one when it was first discussed, I had not participated in the comments at all. It is fascinating to see the range of perspectives such a book could elicit, a fact that might even contribute to its worthiness for further discussion.

    For my part, I think Fleming’s book is excellent, a highly readable and completely researched biography. My 13yo son read it months before I got to it, and he had a very difficult time putting it down. After reading the prologue, he came to me and insisted I also read it. He was blown away by the parallels to elements of our current political climate. That alone would be enough of a “reason” for writing a biography of this figure (one of the questions in the earlier discussion); however, at the risk of re-opening a can of worms. . . why do we need a reason for a biography? Isn’t telling the story of someone’s life and experience in the world what biography is for?

    As someone who loved GIFT FROM THE SEA years ago, I also really appreciated the complicated view on AML. And, I will admit that it was 100% this book that taught me everything I now know about the Lindbergh baby and Lindbergh’s role in the eugenics movement. To accomplish such an act of instruction in something that reads like a novel is surely a mark of distinction.

    Here’s the weird thing: despite its excellence, it doesn’t currently sit in my top three. Is that because it is nonfiction? Does biography face a bias that we should unpack? Certainly the amount of work Fleming had to do before even writing this book should merit some discussion, right?

    • PS: Kudos to you, Emily, for volunteering to introduce such a controversial title!

      • Apparently, this book is not that controversial. It is receiving excellent reviews. As readers of comments on this blog and elsewhere know, I am disturbed by the book’s central premise, that Lindbergh was somehow a “flawed hero,” as opposed to an outright villain. I”m not going to repeat my posts about that.
        The tone of the book is sensationalistic, even exploitative, which may partly account for its popularity. In fact, this may be a deliberate narrative choice, maybe to evoke the sense of the era’s tabloid press. Descriptions of the Lindbergh baby’s murder particularly strike me this way. One could argue that, in reporting horrific events the tone should be horrific. But to me, the author’s voice and the voice of tabloid reporters becomes difficult to separate.
        In response to Sara Beth, Fleming’s apparent empathy with Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of the most troubling parts of the book. AML becomes a kind of humanizing contrast to Lindbergh himself, when, in reality, she was as bad as he was.
        LIndbergh’s choice to “fight,” although he lost his commission in the military, is not difficult to understand.After Pearl Harbor, the America First movement disintegrated. He was in danger of becoming irrelevant. Significantly, he participated in the Pacific Theater, not fighting his friends the Nazis; at any rate, the U.S. government would not have trusted him in Germany, even in his unofficial “advisory” role. He remained a traitor to the end,claiming that Russia and China were worse enemies than Germany and Japan.

  2. Amanda Bishop says:

    Thank you for the wonderful introduction. I have to say that out of all the books, this was the one I dreaded reading the most. But I am so glad I did. Fleming’s writing is so addictive and I couldn’t put this book down. I thought she did a wonderful job narrating the events that took place in the life of Charles Lindbergh. It was because of her writing and the way she approaches the narrative that made this story so captivating.

    I don’t think that Fleming painted LIndbergh as a flawed hero. I think what she does is demonstrate how he was seen in the public eye as a hero. So many people during this time would have wholeheartedly shared his beliefs and I can see the parallels she implies with the current political situation which makes this book so timely. Fleming is able to show Lindbergh’s rise while also clearly foreshadowing his beliefs through his family history and his scientific influences.

    • Carrie Bruner says:

      Amanda, I wholeheartedly agree with you about dreading reading this book. I am a huge fan of Candace Fleming’s work, but the topic made my stomach turn. I had just recently reread Roth’s Plot Against America and watched the miniseries, and although fictionalized, I had kind of had enough of the loathsome Lindbergh.

      However, as you stated, I am glad that I set aside my discomfort and read this book. Fleming’s writing style made this a compelling read, and despite its length, one I read very quickly. The parallels between the past and the current political atmosphere (especially after this week) make this an incredibly relevant read.

      My question though: do you feel that this book might be better considered for the Printz award versus the Newbery? It seems like it is more geared to older readers.

      • Aud Hogan says:

        It’s a little long, to be sure, but I don’t personally think there’s anything in this book that would specifically earmark it for high school readers as opposed to middle schoolers. Especially compared to some other books we’ve discussed this season, it’s not overtly graphic. Lindbergh sees the end result of the Holocaust (which in its very essence was utterly horrific) when he visited the concentration camp (I cannot recall offhand which one, and don’t have the book readily available), and we do hear about the condition of baby Charlie’s body when it was found, but even in those instances, I don’t think the imagery was overwhelming. There was also very little, if any, strong language. I could see strong 12 – 14 year old readers enjoying this book quite a bit, as Sara Beth West’s son did. I would say it has a great deal of crossover appeal with older teenagers. And doorstoppers have won the Newbery in the past – just look at The Girl Who Drank the Moon!

  3. Meredith Burton says:

    Like others, I dreaded reading this book very much but when I did, I appreciated Fleming’s approach to the topic. She relates events in a linear style that held my interest, and I learned a great deal I did not know. The flight to Paris was particularly vivid.

    I will say that the prologue made me very nervous and put me on edge from the beginning. The stark reminder that history often echoes down through the years is a sobering fact. Fleming did well at presenting this flawed individual in an approachable way that would hold a reader’s interest.

    All this being said, I cannot personally choose this one for a Newbery. The information is presented strongly, but I just felt the subject matter was too controversial. Lindbergh’s views made me cringe. I was particularly disturbed by his work with the scientist and his admiration for Hitler. I do appreciate a biography that holds a reader’s attention, though, and think that Fleming is approached her subject with sensitivity and honesty.

  4. Rox Anne Close says:

    I read this book last out of the books on the list, partly because of length, but mostly because I knew Lindbergh believed in white supremacists ideals, and due to the timeliness of the book, I was afraid it might make me too depressed. Once I started the book, the writing was so engaging that I couldn’t put it down. In my mind this book is distinguished because it is everything a good non-fiction book should be: well documented, showing clear, concise history, yet reads like a compelling narrative, with information that is presented in a way that forces the reader to draw their own conclusions.

    This book is a true rise and fall drama – what a bewildering man! I admired Lindberg’s grit and determination one minute, (flight across the Atlantic), had sympathy for him another minute, (kidnapping and death of his son), and had revulsion for him the next moment, (work and attitude on eugenics, admiration for Hitler, and his secret families).

    I appreciated how Fleming made prominent space in this book for Anne’s perspective, telling of how Anne found her voice not only as an author, but also as a wife. Fleming showed how she grew to no longer see herself through Charles’ eyes, but through her own eyes. I was just concerned that the book ended abruptly with Charles’ death, but didn’t finish Anne’s story.

    I too, question whether this book might be better considered for the Printz award versus the Newbery.

    • This comment is very important. I am not criticizing Rox Anne’s response, but rather making the point that, at least for her, Fleming’s book did humanize Lindbergh to a great extent! The core of most arguments defending the book is that, contrary to my perception, Lindbergh is not portrayed as a flawed hero. Yet it is exactly as a picture of a flawed hero that Rox Anne processed this biography. Granted that she is one particular reader, I doubt that her response is unique. Once again I need to point out that Fleming’s attempt to sanitize AML’s complicity is central to the book’s project, by indirectly encouraging some degree of ambivalence about Lindbergh himself. AML never broke with her husband. The end of the book is a deliberately positive view of her care for him in his final illness. Lindbergh was an antisemite and a traitor. Rox Anne, there is nothing bewlidering about Lindbergh. But this book seems to have convinced you otherwise.

      • Just to clarify: are you suggesting that a biography has failed if it humanizes a person? Does a human cede all right to care at the end of their life if they held atrocious views or even did utterly abhorrent things in their life?

        In the first volume of his often bewildering and fully complicated GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, Solzhenitsyn famously wrote, “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

        I would argue the strength of the book is in exactly that acknowledgement: Lindbergh, like all of us, is human. Here he is, a human. Unlike all of us, he was tremendously famous and accomplished many remarkable things. His wife? Also a human. Possibly one suffering from abuse. Possibly, like many abused people, she enables her abuser.

  5. Sara Beth, to answer your very legitimate question: yes, in some cases a biography which offers facile suggestions that a person who committed atrocious acts was somehow not beyond redemption, I would say it has failed. Where that line is crossed, of course, can be subjective. Lindbergh contributed nothing positive to American life or to the world other than his famous flight, which was essentially a personal goal which gave him celebrity status. A celebrity is not a hero. I think the Solzhenitsyn quote is taken out of context. (It’s also important to note that Solzhenitsyn saw himself as a religious Christian who blamed the excesses of the Russian Revolution on Jews.) People need to take responsibility for allowing the most evil among us to act. There is the dividing line. Without collaborators, there would have been no Hitler. That does not mean that Hitler was not evil and beyond any kind of moral redemption! Lindbergh was not “like all of us.” He collaborated with Germany before the war, he accepted a Nazi decoration and refused to give it up even after the war had begun. He actively promulgated the most disgusting racial theories and he never repented for them, never apologized for having threatened Jews speaking out against Hitler. What are the remarkable things he accomplished? Along with Rox Anne’s comment, yours has demonstrated that Fleming’s book accomplished exactly what she wished it to do, if only for some readers.

    • To deepen the discussion, here is another passage from that same chapter in Solzhenitsyn’s GULAG:
      “And just so we don’t go around flaunting too proudly the white mantle of the just, let everyone ask himself: ‘If my life had turned out differently, might I myself not have become just such an executioner?’ It is a dreadful question if one really answers it honestly.”

      Though it has been a few years since I spent years with the three volumes of the GULAG, I feel that understanding our proximity to and potential for evil was one of the primary points of this classic book. To me, Fleming has done that as well. I don’t think I’ve taken the quotes out of context, but I do think we’d be better served to focus on the work Fleming has done, and if my mention of AS has taken us astray, I apologize. I was trying to ask this question:

      Could the argument be made successfully (as I believe Aud has done) that Fleming’s intention was closer to Solzhenitsyn’s? I think the prologue and its alignment with the kind of rallies and violence we have seen lately demonstrate that intention: to use Lindbergh as a reminder of how easy it is to be persuaded of our own righteousness, how easy it is to be complicit.

  6. Aud Hogan says:

    Part of what makes Rise and Fall a success as a biography and as a cautionary tale is that it presents the Lindberghs – both of them – not as caricatures, but as real people. With strengths, with flaws, with families (in Charles’ case, more than one!). Which means that the mistakes and horrible views that they hold could be made and held by anyone.

    You don’t have to be a demon to do and say and support horrible things. You don’t have to be a total fool to make dreadful mistakes. You can be an expert in your field, and still be taken in by propaganda and lead by the nose by your own biases and prejudices. You can have dreadful things happen to your family – like loosing a son – and still be deserving of censure. Had this book not presented the facts of their lives as evenhandedly as it, had it only painted them in an unrelentingly negative light, I don’t think it would have worked nearly as well. By highlighting their humanity, Fleming shines a spotlight on where their good traits ended and their blind spots prevailed. And that’s what makes the book distinguished.

    • Once again, what leads you to characterize Lindbergh’s consistently promoted ideology of hatred as a “mistake?” If it was a mistake, then we could apply that same excuse to any evil ever perpetrated by anyone. There is absolutely no evidence that he made a “mistake,” according to his own lifelong set of beliefs. He was not “taken in,” although other people, one could argue, may have been initially taken in by him. He was a leader, not a follower. One indication of a “mistake” might be that the person who made it eventually came to view it as such. This was not the case with Lindbergh. Who else in history would you suggest benefits by this great moral allowance? Would you extend it to the leaders of the Confederacy, to Stalin, or how about Hitler? Yes, we all make mistakes. We don’t all commit the atrocious acts that people like Lindbergh willingly chose to do.

      • I am not a supporter of the Confederacy (or slavery), Stalin, Hitler, or other perpetrators of genocide. Nor am I a supporter of Lindbergh. I have not been a supporter of Lindbergh at any point in this discussion. In my quote above, in addition to saying he made dreadful mistakes, I also said he was deserving of censure, and had horrible views. I have said multiple times in my discussion of this book that his actions make my blood run cold, and that I find this book bone chilling because a man such as him could wield such power over other citizens. You are officially attacking a person now, not a book.

        Fleming’s work (which is admittedly my only source) makes the argument that Lindbergh was fooled by German propaganda regarding the force of their military, and that he didn’t realize the extent of their treatment of Jewish citizens until the end of the war – those were the mistakes I was referring to (that he didn’t then completely renounce everything is utterly reprehensible and I’ve never said otherwise. Neither did Fleming, so far as I could see). The “horrible views” I mentioned were basically his life’s entire ideology, and his actions of deserving of censure were basically everything he did the public sphere outside of flying an airplane. And a few private things, too. Just because I found a book enlightening and well written does not mean I support the person who is the subject of the book.

        If I may be frank and take this one step further: A crowd of yahoos (I’m watching my language due to public forum) attacked our nation’s Capitol building last week, sporting horrifically racist paraphernalia. History seems, in some ways, to be repeating itself. If we see what makes people like Lindbergh into people like Lindbergh, and we can see what makes people want to follow people like Lindbergh, then maybe we can avoid this sort of thing in future. THAT is what I mean by a cautionary tale.

  7. Alexis Redhorse says:

    I appreciate your well-meaning sentiments, Aud. But I’m backing Emily Schneider on this. I’ll say worse than “yahoos”—not just domestic terrorists but neo-Nazis, White Supremacists. As an Indigenous woman, I don’t see this as four years in the making but four hundred years. And no amount of understanding white hatred stops poisoning Native resources, lynch mobs or synagogue massacres. (Is this why there was a near obsession with the eugenicist, human trafficker in Show Me a Sign? Enough!) We Seminole call these horrible impulses howlawagus—the evil must be rooted out. To combat it in children’s literature, we promote other narratives. Voices that have been drowned out by Lindberghs and Trumps.

    Here’s another quote from Solzhenitsyn about his experience in Russian death camps. “The Jews whose experience I saw—their life was softer than others.” Maybe not the best source to quote here. And not the best time for this book.

    I don’t believe in canceling or censoring books, but my Grandpa Joe use to say, “Let’s put that up on the shelf.” Lindbergh like LHOP can be put up on the shelf now while we focus on honestly reckoning with our mutual history and healing.

    • I agree that yahoo was a mild word – like I said, I was holding back because the words I want to use are not fit for polite society. The Holocaust was a result of thousands of years of anti-Antisemitism, I also won’t argue that. And it’s horrifying that dregs still linger. I also agree that promoting diverse voices is one of the best ways to combat hate. Showing the beauty in people who have been ignored is the best possible way to lift humanity as a whole and improve us as a species. I even agree that I don’t know why Andrew Noble’s character seemed more important than Mary’s for some people when we discussed that book.

      Honest question, however: I have kids coming into my library and asking me specifically for biographies about Lindbergh. I had three in the last year that we were open to browsers (we’ve basically been closed since March). So, what do I give them? Because I’m obligated by my profession to hand them something, either from my own shelves, or via interlibrary loan. Part of the reason why I was glad this came out was that I had an option I could hand them that could show kids his true colors, and perhaps they could learn.

      • For the record, I’m not saying I want this book to win the Newbery. I always felt that was a stretch, anyway, simply based on the kinds of books that generally win. I just think it’s a well-written biography that nearly gave me nightmares and I think, personally, that it did open my eyes to how hate can transform individuals and how individuals can then influence mobs. I feel I did learn something of value from the book. I can see how others might disagree with that philosophy. But my questions stands. If not this book, then what do I hand the kids who want books about Lindbergh? Because all the other kids’ books I know on the subject ignore his dirty laundry completely. I had no idea he was such a reprehensible character. And I don’t think that should stand.

      • Leonard Kim says:

        I am fascinated by this. Where are kids hearing about Charles Lindbergh? I made some comments about this book in a previous post, where I wrongly suggested kids would not have heard of Charles Lindbergh (and so why bring him to their attention), so it’s a point of genuine curiosity for me.

        After reading through this discussion, I stand by my previous comments — that this book might have benefited from more focus on its “theme or concept” instead of straight-on biography. This affects my evaluation of “excellence of presentation for a child audience.” Although, if this is in fact the least hagiographical kid’s book on Lindbergh available, then I agree, Aud, there may not be a better option to hand to children requesting a Lindbergh book.

    • I appreciate this rebuttal, Alexis Redhorse, because *I think* it clarifies for me something I’d been missing in the previous critiques. Is the problem with this book that Fleming undertook this subject at all? That she chose to elevate the subject just by making him a subject? If so, that makes a lot of sense. Either way, I’ll keep thinking on it.

      As to the Solzhenitsyn quote you provide, I haven’t read that later work of his, though this article provides an overview of the outcry against it: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/jan/25/russia.books

      • Alexis Redhorse says:

        Sara Beth West, Thank for your response and the link. My professor has talked about that later book. I’ll keep thinking on it too. I hate bringing down books and authors. I think several books on the HM list (completely unknowingly) released in the wrong year/s–while others have taken on a greater urgency not just because of recent events but also the discussions around them, ex. “how to be an antiracist.”

  8. Alexis Redhorse says:

    Hi, Aud!

    Honest answer: You’re a librarian, so you give the patrons what they’re looking for. And if this bio is the best fit, so be it. If you can have a frank discussion with the kids or parents, even better. Not always possible. I’m interested that kids want to read about Lindbergh.. Young people I know have never heard of him. Because I know YouTube and Tik Tok too well, it might alarm me. Hope he doesn’t show up on a t-shirt in the next coup.

    I think it’s important that words like neo-Nazi and white supremacist are said in polite society (whatever that is.).

    Honest question: What do you do when kids request books by or about sex offenders like Bill Cosby?

    Good talking to you!

  9. Aud Hogan says:

    Leonard and Alexis, I was also surprised, all three times, by the kids asking for Lindbergh. One of those kids was asking specifically for books about the baby’s kidnapping, but I figure this book could probably work for that, too. In her case, it was for a school report on a major news event of the past? I forget the precise details, but that was the event she’d picked. Perhaps the teacher had a list from past projects? Perhaps she’d heard about it from somewhere else? I really don’t know. As for the other kids, perhaps it was because Ohio is the “birthplace of aviation,” and some people take that surprisingly seriously? Perhaps it was because, in non-COVID years, there’s a large biography project that kids in certain grades have to do around here, and perhaps teachers keep lists of past subjects to recommend for kids who are stuck for ideas? I have no idea. Anyway, the other books about Lindbergh that I’ve personally seen for kids are either written for younger children and praise him highly, or they’re really thick things in the adult section.

    Alexis: as far as I know, I’ve never been asked for books by or about modern sex offenders. As for historical perpetrators, such as plantation owners with a penchant for impregnating enslaved women, my co-workers and I do the best we can to purchase up-to-date books that don’t sugarcoat those truths, and those are the ones we recommend to people. We also try to keep our collections as historically accurate as possible and we try to discard outdated books. We don’t have an endless budget, but we do the best we can. I suppose, if someone asked for a modern offender, that’s what we would try to do, as well. Try to find a resource somewhere that was up to date and yet still age appropriate. If nothing was available, we’d try to offer alternatives. Depending on the situation, I might be offering alternatives anyway. It would be a delicate situation, to be sure, but we’re not here to censor, we’re here to provide access, even when the person makes our skin crawl.

    • Aud Hogan says:

      Person meaning “subject of the biography,” not “library customer.” I hope that doesn’t need to be said.

  10. Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

    People have passionate feelings about this book, which is great. When opinions differ about a book, the discussion that comes from it should increase our knowledge and enrich our understanding. That happens a lot on Heavy Medal, and it’s happened in this and other discussions of TRAFOCL.

    What we should NOT be talking about, and I hope we’re not, is the people who are sharing their viewpoints. A person can admire TRAFOCL and still despise Charles Lindbergh. Or support the choices that Fleming made as an author of this particular youth biography, and still understand that Lindbergh deserves much stronger condemnation than the author chose to bring into this book.

    Reviewing comments above, I don’t see direct attacks on other commenters, but I worry that the tone here is verging towards that. I have had more than one person express concerns to me about the way this discussion is going. I’m not going to end the discussion at this point; for now, just a reminder to focus on the literary content of the book, and show respect for the comments of others, even if you strongly disagree.

    Finally, if you have concerns with what I just wrote, I’m would love to hear them. I’m truly not sure what the best approach is and would value feedback….But I request that you email me directly about them (sengelfried@yahoo.com), rather than posting here. Thanks.

  11. Tamara DePasquale says:

    There is a lot to take in and sift through here. There are a few comments that I would like to add to after rereading the book.

    First, I believe that this book is more of a Printz contender than Newbery. It’s what we call in our Mock discussions a “Printzbery!” It sits on the fence of being accessible to the high end of the Newbery audience as well as the Printz audience. I do believe, however, that it leans more to the older audience and not because of inappropriate content. Readers must be able to fully understand the setting to better process meaning. As a quick example, I would refer to references to the National Debt, unemployment rates, etc. The writing also targets the older reader. On page 76 Fleming writes, “But the decade’s earlier euphoria and rebellion had been eclipsed by ‘a widespread neurosis, like a nervous beating of the feet,’ wrote novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.” To continue with that paragraph alone demonstrates the maturity and backstory needed to process the background information. For the sake of brevity, I will not add to my list of examples but will simply add that I will not vote for this one as a Newbery contender due to it not being the best match for the Newbery’s intended audience. (I recognize there will be younger readers who will devour this, but I’m referring to the bulk of readers.)

    The second point I would like to make, zeroes in on the style and writing of this nonfiction title. It reads like fiction. I remember Russell Freedman talking about the importance of reading nonfiction for pleasure. Fleming’s inclusion of primary sources blends so easily into the narrative. The words just flow. Fleming, along with Sheinkin, has become a favorite author of nonfiction to recommend and to read.

    Third, I don’t recall another title including such a sizable amount of back matter. The information presented is backed by cited sources. I never felt that Lindbergh or his wife were sensationalized. As for the choosing of the topic of the Lindberghs, why not? I’m always amazed by the variety and scope of requests for materials by the students who are working on a biography project for school. Shirley Temple Black comes up every year, and I have no idea where that comes from. Feelings about Charles Lindbergh should not be a part of the discussion. When we go down that hole, we become a gatekeeper and worse a censor.

    I will close by saying that I feel this book is an outstanding piece of nonfiction. Fleming shares a “story” about the Lindberghs that is based in a grand amount of research and respects her audience well enough to let them take in the information and sort through it on their own. I do hope this title receives some award recognition this year.

    • Brenda Martin says:

      Hear hear.

      Some of the earlier comments about this book have made me wonder what other intentional or unintentional gatekeeping is going on in our schools and libraries. The now-common adage “libraries are not neutral” cuts both ways. You can’t say that out of one side of your mouth and then declare that a biographical subject is too controversial (or whatever else that may be a euphemism for). Or, I suppose you can, but I wouldn’t want you to be the gatekeeper of library materials you deem should or should not be available to children.

  12. A number of us are watching this thread. We’re not exactly sure why it was shut down after a Native woman expressed her ideas. What were those controversial ideas?

    “I don’t believe in canceling or censoring books, but my Grandpa Joe use to say, “Let’s put that up on the shelf.” Lindbergh like LHOP can be put up on the shelf now while we focus on honestly reckoning with our mutual history and healing.”

    I believe if Mr. Steven Engelfried decided to close the discussion at that time, it should have stayed closed.

    • Steven Engelfried Steven Engelfried says:

      My intent was not to close the discussion, but to address some feedback I had received:

      “I’m not going to end the discussion at this point; for now, just a reminder to focus on the literary content of the book, and show respect for the comments of others, even if you strongly disagree.”

      It was not meant as a response to one commenter, but to the whole of the discussion. We are wrapping up this phase of the Heavy Medal Book List discussion at this point, and moving on to a Final Five ballot, but comments can continue on this or any other books on the list…

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