Delia and Rhoda are a high-flying duo of aviatrixes who earn their living with stunt work and barnstorming in the 1930s. Though they are from different races and backgrounds, the women are thick as thieves, traveling the country and raising their children, Emilia and Teodros, side by side. When a freak accident takes Delia’s life, Rhoda steps in to act as a foster mother to Teo and try to rebuild their lives without her beloved flying partner. In an attempt to fulfill a lifelong dream of Delia’s, the little patchwork family crosses the ocean to take up residence in Africa. In Ethiopia, Rhoda reasons, Teo can connect with his heritage and live in a place where he isn’t a minority. Things are wonderful at first, and the kids grow to love their adopted country and its people and language. Better still, they start to get aviation lessons, something that Teo particularly excels at.
In between their flying sessions, Teo and Em daydream about the fabulous escapades of their alter agos, the Black Dove and the White Raven. The legacy that Teo’s deceased Ethiopian father left him, however, is one of slavery and servitude.
When it is discovered that he is the son of a former slave, Teo is horrified to discover that he is now considered a slave himself…and his master has ordered him to join the growing war efforts against Italy. In the very land that was supposed to be a safe place for him to grow up, Teo has to take up arms. With Teo high in the skies as a pilot for the Ethiopian emperor and Em and her mother stuck at an Italian military camp, will the Black Dove and White Raven will ever be able to find each other again?
Told through flight records, diary entries, school assignments, and episodes of the Black Dove and White Raven stories, Black Dove, White Raven is a fascinating blend of African history, war, aviation, and a friendship like no other. Though the story takes a while to heat up, fans of Elizabeth Wein’s previous bestselling works Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire will flock to this latest offering and enjoy all of the familiar elements that make her a great storyteller.
368 pages 978-1423183105 Ages 13 and up
Recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian, Maryland, USA.