STEM Smackdown: Who Invented the Airplane?: Wright Brothers vs. Whitehead

Book Information
Rating: Excellent
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Karen Latchana Kenney
Publisher: Lerner Publications Company
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9781512483185
Pages: 32

The Wright brothers started out developing gliders. Their first big break was the development of warped wings that allowed them to turn without unbalancing the glider. From there, they added a motor and propellers, and viola! We had the first airplane. Gustave Whitehead claimed to have flown his steam engine propelled plane a few years earlier, but the evidence for this is very slim. The Wright brothers, on the other hand, had large amounts of data and photographs of their progress. They are the clear winners!

This is an interesting little book. Some basic mechanics of flight, invention, intellectual property and historical analysis are discussed. The book follows a logical analysis of information and data and helps show the reader how credible, or not, some sources can be. Viewing historical documents through the lens of the time they were created is an important skill to learn. This is not just a good book for those interested in airplanes, but is also a great approach to history. If your child enjoys this book, they may like the other books in this series, STEM Smackdown, about other inventors and their rivals.