What do Jackie O, an astronomer, and a balloon pilot have in common? It sounds like a joke, doesn’t it? Maybe one of those jokes told by that uncle you see mainly at family funerals or awkward reunions. He’s not funny, but somehow he’s gotten the idea that being the comic is his “thing” and god knows, people could use an inappropriate joke right about now, right?
But no, it’s not a joke! They’re just all women who didn’t give up on things they loved. Jacqueline Kennedy had Grand Central Station in New York City to save from developers. Caroline Herschel had astronomy. Sophie Armant Blanchard had her balloons.
As sometimes happens, these books landed (serendipitously, I think) on my desk at work on the same day. So, when I read them, I read them together. And they fit together in really wonderful ways. Each woman had struggles. Each woman kept at it, working for their goals and the things they loved. They persisted. And we should, too. Some of these jokes are just for me.
Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot by Matthew Clark Smith and Matt Tavares
Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully
When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon by Natasha Wing and Alexandra Boiger