Children’s book wins acclaim

Cover2When USA Book News announced the results of its national “Best Books” awards for 2009, Sue Hughes was flying high. The author’s first publication was among the finalists in the national contest’s Children’s Picture Book – Softcover Fiction category. Her book, “The Pilot Alphabet,” presents the phonetic alphabet, an international standard used by pilots.

“I envisioned this book for pilots to read to their children and grandchildren, but it’s gone on to have a much wider appeal,” said Hughes, a Denver-based pilot and flight instructor. “The phonetic alphabet is one thing about aviation that even the youngest flyers can learn.”

The Pilot Alphabet is the first in a series of picture books that features Claire Bear, a pink-clad aviatrix with an ulterior motive: to attract girls to aviation. While most airplane books exclusively target boys, Hughes’ books put a girl in cockpit, providing a role model for girls to relate to. “It also doesn’t hurt for boys to get used to seeing girls in the cockpit,” said Hughes.

On the market less than a year, The Pilot Alphabet is already in its second printing. Hughes credits the illustrations in her book for its wide appeal. She contracted with International Illustrators, which matches authors with artists on a world-wide scale. “The minute I saw Wang DaiYu’s work,” Hughes said of her illustrator, a 24-year-old Chinese art student, “I knew it was a perfect match.” Wang has since illustrated the sequel, “Claire Bear’s First Solo,” which came out last summer, and is currently working on the third Claire Bear book, “What Pilots Fly,” due out next Spring.

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