“Ms. Groce’s research and book have the potential to completely rewrite aviation history.”
-Rebecca Maksel, Associate Editor, Air & Space/Smithsonian Magazine
“Malick’s historical significance might have been lost if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of his great-niece…”
-Jane Kessler, Columnist, Sunbury Daily Item
“Ms. Groce has made a discovery in her family records that contradicts some of the recorded history of Aviation. She has presented a very thoroughly researched account of the career, and the contributions of Mr. Emory Conrad Malick, her Great-uncle.”
-Roscoe D. Draper, Former Civilian Aviation Instructor, Tuskegee Institute
“Emory Conrad Malick’s story is stunning, and has caught everyone flat-footed. Even aviation historians at the Smithsonian are surprised by the recent evidence discovered related to Malick.”
-Mark Taylor, Ernie Buehl website
“You have done a fantastic job of researching and writing. I am greatly impressed.”
-Dr. Eugene Richardson, Documented Original Tuskegee Airman
“Congratulations Mary! It is all so exciting. You have done a great service not only to your uncle but also for the history of aviation. To exclude the experiences and contributions of blacks in aviation is to deny everyone else the complete history, thereby leaving large and apparent gaps in the story. Your fine work adds a significant piece. We are proud to have you as a member of our chapter!”
-Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer, Franklin Institute, President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Lila Tells the Story of Emory Conrad Malick, Our First Licensed Black Pilot
Uncle Emory's princely adventures piloting an early Curtiss Pusher up in the clouds came very close to being lost to history forever. But author, illustrator and historian Mary Groce was in the right place at the right time, as a box of hidden documents fell into her lap. We are indeed fortunate that she chose to heed the creative spirit and look to the skies.
Groce's thorough investigative work into the life of African American aviator Emory Conrad Malick has been recognized by The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
As if that were not enough accomplishment for a lifetime, Ms. Groce has singlehandedly produced an illustrated children's book on the subject of her very handsome and intrepid Great Uncle Emory. She has envisioned it magically for us through the eyes of her own granddaughter Lila.
Thoughtfully chosen early photographs glide across the pages of her book like a smooth pebble flung across a pond. And Emory's fascinating life as "America's First Black Pilot" rises from that pond through clouds of mist, the mist of years of obscurity, only recently discovered hidden away from view in a cluttered attic! His brave experience has been researched, corroborated and published for you to read now with your children.
Groce writes with humor and warmth, and her whimsical watercolor and ink illustrations convey a deep appreciation not only for her family, but for the excitement of early air travel in the USA.
The author/illustrator is also a professional harpist who sings in several languages, including French and Gaelic. Had the dusty cardboard box of Uncle Emory's documents and photographs descended from the attic into less capable hands, it is a sure bet that he would never have been heard from again. Uncle Em can now join Antoine de St. Exupéry as a not-so-silent partner in the sky.
-Christopher Andrew Maier
Emory Conrad Malick, Our First Licensed Black Pilot is a bedtime story for children, written by the grand-niece of a pioneer aviator. The story itself is based in fact and is remarkable.
It talks about aviation in the very earliest days, discussing the impossibly delicate airplanes of the time, and something of the dangers of flying them. Malick was one of the very earliest pilots licensed in the United States, receiving his international certification early in 1912, no more than nine years after the Wright brothers made their first powered flight at Kitty Hawk.
As a children's book, the story gently deals with how people in her family, and others, coped with race relations more than 100 years ago. Most people in the author's family had no idea that they had African-American heritage, but in the book that fact was exposed in an amusing manner when Malick crashed his homemade airplane in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. One of the little boys who ran over to get a better look at the crash accidently discovered the family's secret. In the story, all ends happily just in time for Lila to go to sleep.
The story is well-written and charmingly illustrated by the author herself.
My opinion is that this is a book best shared between adult and child, but of course, that is the best way for any children's book. Snuggle up together, read this out loud, look at the pictures, listen to what your child has to say about it.
Even though it is written for children, I loved this book and learned a lot about aviation and African American history. It is written from a child's perspective and I found the illustrations delightful, reminiscent of the Eloise books I grew up reading (without the sense of entitlement), displaying a joie de vivre which apparently has passed down generations of this family. You can imagine flying along with Emory Conrad Malick on a great adventure. What courage, vision and inventiveness he possessed and we are lucky that Mary Groce captured it and shared it with all of us in such a compelling way.
Aunt Cora’s Wart, An Historical Faerie Tale: Nipper Fest!
Mary Groce has woven a charming tale highlighting RCA-Victor's studio heyday in Camden, NJ, along with a few other historical doings, that makes history go down like Mary Poppins' spoonful of sugar -- easy and sweeeeet. Her characters are engaging, and there's just enough magic, adventure and funny business to keep young readers involved as the plot dashes along. An absolute must read for youngsters in Camden - who have reason to be proud of their hometown - and a worthy book report subject for students who love music (and flying) anywhere.
I loved this book. Full of adventure and surprise facts about the Camden/Philadelphia area. You don't have to be from the Delaware Valley to enjoy this gem. I gave one as a gift and donated a copy to our local public library.
Lila and Jonah have an Earthquake!
This is a beautifully written book, charmingly illustrated by the author.
Scary things happen to children all of the time, but they cope well when they can get reassurance that the adults are there to help. Lila and Jonah experience an earthquake, but their parents handle it well and in the end the adults help the children to feel safe.
If you live in an area where earthquakes, floods, or tornados are inevitable, this is a good book to read to children to open a discussion about how the family will handle disasters.
The book is universally helpful to children to explain the potentially frightening events of nature. It should be particularly good for children in California to prepare them in advance, or discuss in retrospect the occurance of earthquakes and the unsettling feelings they may encounter. I like the way it takes a child's perspective, introduces tough subjects such as how our world can be shaken up by a natural disaster like an earthquake yet we can survive and thrive. It could be extremely helpful to any child who might encounter a natural disaster. My first memory was an unsettling one of a hurricane. I never thought of trees being upright but it certainly didn't look right to me that they were on the ground or that we had to use the fireplace to cook.
As a pediatric nurse practioner and a child therapist myself, I think if you prepare children to some extent for the possibility of a trauma like an earthquake, hurricane, flood or any natural disaster without scaring them, they are not as likely to be traumatized by it. Mary Groce writes beautifully from a child's perspective and her delightful illustrations lighten the heaviness of the subject so it is actually an enjoyable book to read. At the end of the book the family comes together and cleans up the aftermath of the earthquake in a cooperative and fun way. I highly recommend it for children, their parents and grandparents to read together.
-Martha Kob, MSED, RN, CRNP, LPC
This book is thoughtful, well-written, and the illustrations are just incredible. I'm always looking for books to help my children understand tough topics. This one fits the bill and the kids love it. Thank you!