On My Bookshelf: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

August 24, 2020

The basic plot from Amazon: Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall?or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein is a historical fiction novel set in Ethiopia and is a wonderful look at the culture and history of the country. The events in the novel span from WWI to WWII, and touch on race relations in the United States, women's rights, and slavery in Ethiopia. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: Elizabeth Wein's novels, Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, which are set during WWII and feature female pilots are both gripping and empowering, and Black Dove, White Raven was no different. The primary setting in this book is Ethiopia and is a wonderful look at the culture and history of a country I knew little about. The events in the novel span from WWI to WWII, and touch on race relations in the United States, women's rights, and slavery in Ethiopia. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you'll love this book.

The novel is filled with complex relationships that challenge the rules of society: Rhoda and Delia as flying partners and friends, Emilia and Teo as adoptive siblings and friends, Rhoda and her children as a mixed race family. As the novel reveals there isn't a place in the world, not in France, not in the united States, and not even in Ethiopia for these relationships to be fully accepted, but in spite of adversity, Rhoda, Emilia, and Teo do not waver in their love and loyalty for each other. It was impossible not to feel the fierceness of their care and concern for each other.

Classroom application: I would recommend this title for middle school and up. The novel would be a great companion read to students' history learnings about the period between WWI and WWII.

If your students are interested in World War II, you can find other titles to recommend to them here.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Black Dove, White Raven for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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