Book Info: Pilot Mom

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, July 2003

Age group: 4-8

Jacket illustration: Alan Marks.

Genre: Historical Ficction

To buy this book

Book Club Ideas:

Pilot Mom

VENUE: How about arranging a tour of your local airport? A lot of the smaller ones have coffee shops in them with great home cooking. Why not meet there, watch the planes take off and have a bite to eat? (And I bet a local pilot will be willing to show you his plane!) You can also visit the Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City (if you live close enough.) And if neither of these is an option, create your own “world of dreams”. Ask each child to bring a poster to display what they dream of doing when they are older.

FOOD: As Jenny’s mom had an emergency while flying in Saudi Arabia, why not try some of the foods they eat there while discussing the benefits of being a woman in the US? Start the meeting off with a homemade hummus and toasted pita bread. For dinner, Kapsa (Chicken with rice) would be a great main meal! (I’ve listed the recipe for you below) and finish with some purchased sesame candy.

Kapsa (Chicken and Rice)

* 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
* 1 small to medium onion, chopped
* 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
* 1 can (about 2 cups) chicken broth
* 1½ cups water
* 1 tomato, chopped
* 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon lemon rind
* 1 cinnamon stick
* Salt to taste
* 1 small snack box of raisins
* 1 package of skinless, boneless chicken (4 breast halves)
* 1 package of skinless, boneless thighs (4 to 6 thighs)
* 1½ cups white Basmati rice


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Wash chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Put chicken in a baking dish and bake in preheated oven until fully cooked (about 30 minutes).
  4. While the chicken is baking, heat oil (medium-high) in a large pot. Add chopped onions and 1 teaspoon of cardamom, stirring constantly until browned.
  5. Add chicken broth and 1½ cups water to pot. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of cardamom, tomato, tomato paste, garlic powder, lemon rind, cinnamon stick, salt, and raisins to the browned onions and water.
  6. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes. Add the rice.
  7. Bring to a boil then immediately turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes, check the rice to see if it has absorbed all of the liquid.
  9. If the rice is dry but not soft yet, add a little more water and continue to simmer. Do not stir the rice! The rice is done when all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft.
  10. When both the rice and the chicken are cooked, place the rice on a platter and put the chicken on top in the middle.

Serves 6 to 8.


SPECIAL GUESTS: Most women in the military are willing to visit and talk about their jobs with students who are interested. Try and find a local woman pilot to come and speak with you about the difficulties and rewards of this career choice.