With several events commemorating Girls in Aviation Day on September 26 via an app, it’s fitting that this would also be the week to release a book that celebrates the accomplishment of one young woman’s recent round-the-world flight. Shaesta Waiz made history as the first Afghan-American woman to pilot a single-engine airplane solo around the globe. Waiz marked the feat in 2017, following her graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and the foundation of Dreams Soar.
Fly, Girl, Fly! a picture book authored by Nancy Roe Pimm—with illustrations by Alexandra Bye and published by Beaming Books—follows Waiz’ path to the flight deck and around the world. Waiz was inspired by the historic flight of Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock, who made her mark in aviation’s big logbook when she flew her 1953 Cessna 180, the Spirit of Columbus, solo around the world in 1964. Pimm’s first book recounts Mock’s story in picture-book form, so it’s elegant that she covers Waiz’ successful mission more than 50 years later.
Waiz flew across five continents, with 30 stops in 22 countries along the way in a Beech A36 Bonanza, covering nearly 25,000 miles. Waiz said, on the publication of her story, “I am thrilled to have my story come alive in this beautiful new book to further inspire young girls to follow their dreams. Thanks to author Nancy Roe Pimm and Beaming Books Publishing for making it all come together; they have been a joy to work with. I am still so grateful for everyone in the aviation community that helped make my trip of a lifetime such a success. I hope you all enjoy the book and share it with all the children in your life.”
Waiz’ foundation, Dreams Soar, continues its mission “to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals,” according to a press release. “The global solo flight was the first phase of Dreams Soar’s worldwide effect to inspire and empower the (STEM) and aviation, specifically for young women and minorities.”