"She went up by day, and she went up by night. One cold night over the Alps, her nose began to bleed and icicles formed on her face. She went up in good weather, and she went up in bad. Once over France, she crashed into a marsh in a storm and nearly drowned."
Sophie Blanchard was the first woman aeronaut—the first female ever to pilot a hot air balloon at the beginning of the nineteenth century in France. She became known as the "bird woman" and Napoleon named her Aeronaut of the Official Festivals and Chief Air Minister of Ballooning. "It was an age before the skies had been mastered, and before the earth had been thoroughly charted from above; it was an age when each flight was a feat of cutting-edge technology, an exhibition of jaw-dropping magic, and a leap of faith into the unknown."
Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot was written by Matthew Clark Smith, illustrated by Matt Tavares and published by Candlewick Press.