Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean
by Sarah Stewart Taylor and Ben Towle

About the book:

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”  - Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart developed a love of flying at a very young age… and she wasn’t about to let any man get in the way of her dreams. What began as a simple joy became something much deeper—a commitment to open doors for all women. As Amelia built a name for herself in the field of aviation—breaking numerous recores along the way—she inspired future trailblazers to soar to new heights.

In Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, Taylor and Towle focus on Amelia’s triumphant crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, offering us a glimpse of her relentless ambition and her tireless will to promote women’s rights. But above all, author and illustrator leave us with a sense of her deep-rooted desire to touch the sky.

About the creators:

Sarah Stewart Taylor is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sweeney St. George mystery series, which follows the exploits of an art historian who specializes in funerary imagery. She teachers writing at the Center for Cartoon Studies, and is co-founder of the Writer’s Center, a teaching space and drop-in workshop open to the public in White River Junction, Vermont. Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean is the first graphic novel she has written. She lives in North Hartland, Vermont, with her husband and two sons. Visit her website at

Ben Towle is an Eisner Award-nominated cartoonist and comics educator whose most recent graphic novel is Midnight Sun, which chronicles the fate of an Italian airship expedition to the North Pole in 1928. Aside from Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean, he is currently hard at work on Oyster War, a raucous adventure story set around the Chesapeake Bay at the turn of the twentieth century. Ben lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Creator Interview:

  1. What fascinated you most about Amelia Earheart’s story?
  2. Could you describe a bit about your process for research and writing this book?
  3. What advice would you give young people who would like to write or become cartoonist?

  1. How would you describe your process for bringing Amelia Earhart’s story to life?
  2. Is revision a big part of an artist’s work like it is for writers?
  3. What is your next project?

Questions to consider:

  1. Why does Amelia come to Trepassy, Newfoundland? Why is this location ideal? Would you put your faith in a place called “Dead Man’s Bay?”
  2. Deduce why Grace’s mother calls her “Nosy Nelly.” List careers where being a nosy questioning person is an asset.
  3. Explain why Earhart and her team has so much difficulty getting airborne. How do they try to solve the issues?
  4. Theorize how the Trepassy Herlad got started. Why do you think she created it? What clues lead you to believe this?
  5. Summarize what happened to the other women who tried to fly the Atlantic. Would you want to be the first at something? What?
  6. How does it become a race for Amelia? Do you think competition makes something more interesting or worthwhile?
  7. What do the men on the team do to pass the time? Explain why this is probably not the best idea. What do you do when you’re bored?
  8. Determine how Amelia Earhart became interested in flying? Do you think her father regretted introducing it to her or not? Why?
  9. Consider Amelia Earhart’s choices compared to most women of her time. How did she behave compared to her contemporaries? Do you consider her brave?
  10. “The ocean up her is hungry for foolish souls.” Would you consider Earhart foolish or not? Why?
  11. How does Grace learn the outcome of her Atlantic flight? What does she do with the information?
  12. At the end of the book how has Grace changed? Do you think Amelia Earhart was a big influence on her life or not? Who are your personal heroes? Why?


Art: Create a new series of cartoon’s which depict another even in Amelia Earhart’s life. Use the illustrations by Ben Towle as inspiration and include at least ten frames. Be sure to vary the perspective in at least three.

History: Research life in the 1920’s and create a poster, pamphlet, powerpoint or commercial about what you learned. Consider one of the following topics: women’s rights or issues, music, art and architecture, technology, transportation, medicine or entertainment.

Math: In pairs create equations which calculate either how much gas is needed per miles for Amelia Earhart to fly her plane or how man hours per miles it would take her to complete a trip across the Atlantic.

Science: Create a diagram explaining the physics of flight. Be sure to define any necessary terms for the lay person to understand it.