O’Neill, Alexis. The Kite that Bridged Two Nations. Illus. Terry Widener. Honesdale, PA: Calkins Creek, 2013.
This prose poem picture book is based on the true story of the boy, Homer Walsh, who flew his kite across Niagara Falls from Canada to the United States, laying the first lines which then pulled the cables for the International Bridge connecting the two countries just below Niagara Falls
O’Neill originally attempted to write a picture book biography, but changed to fiction when she realized she needed to be inside the boy’s mind and to show how he felt, such as, “I felt it’s (the falls’s) booming, pounding power in my chest.” The result is a prose poem, which lyrically explores this event that united the two countries with a bridge, told in first person point of view. (My kite. My pride. My Union.) The extensive author’s notes fill in more information. I especially like the part where O’Neill explores what we do not know about Homer and his project.
This would be good for classes who wish to combine fiction and nonfiction as per the Common Core.
Alexis O'Neill loves flying kites and participating in Kite Festivals.