Homan, Lynn M.

views updated

Homan, Lynn M.

PERSONAL: Female. Education: West Virginia University, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—1060 14th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

CAREER: Writer, editor, and designer. Partner at Homan and Reilly Designs. Served as administrative director of a Florida history museum, 1986, and as photo-documentarian of historic structures for National Register of Historic Places. Member, Florida Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau.



The Tuskegee Airmen, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 1998.

Wings over Florida, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 1999.

Key West, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2000.

Mount Dora, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2000.

Pan Am, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2000.

Citrus County, Florida, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2001.

Lakeland, Florida, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2001.

Orlando in Vintage Postcards, Florida, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2001.

Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen, foreword by Louis R. Purnell, Arcadia (Charleston, SC), 2001.


Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes (fiction), illustrated by Rosalie M. Shepherd, Pelican Publishing (Gretna, LA) 2002.

The Tuskegee Airmen Story (fiction), illustrated by Rosalie M. Shepherd, Pelican Publishing (Gretna, LA), 2002.

Girls Fly! (fiction), illustrated by Rosalie M. Shepherd, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2003.

Women Who Fly (nonfiction), illustrated by Rosalie M. Shepherd, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Lynn M. Homan has collaborated with her business partner Thomas Reilly to write more than a dozen books, including nonfiction and juvenile fiction. Several of their books, both fiction and nonfiction, have focused on the Tuskegee Airmen, a corps of black flyers who served during World War II and helped open the armed services to blacks. The authors became interested in the airmen after designing a museum exhibition about them through their company Homan and Reilly Designs. Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen is the true account of the airmen told for an adult audience. Homan and Reilly conducted extensive research, including interviews both with the airmen themselves and their families, to tell the story of how civil rights groups fought to allow blacks in the military and to detail the personal struggles the airmen faced. Journal of Southern History contributor Robert J. Jakeman wrote that although the book had numerous faults, including blatant errors, it "does provide useful insights into the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen." Writing in Booklist, Vanessa Bush called the work "a treasure of photographs and recollections of an important part of American history."

The writing duo tell the Tuskegee Airmen story again in fictional accounts for children titled The Tuskegee Airmen Story and Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes, both illustrated by Rosalie M. Shepherd. In The Tuskegee Airmen Story the flyers' story is told by a grandfather to his two grandchildren. The grandfather not only talks about his own exploits but also about the segregation issues he and his fellow airmen faced both in the service and at home. Writing in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan pointed out that "the grandfather's narrative does a good job of explaining who the Tuskegee Airmen were and what they achieved."

In Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes, the authors relate the history of the Tuskegee Airmen through the words of Victor Kennedy, an elderly black man talking to a Washington, DC, middle school class. School Library Journal contributor Mary Mueller commented, "Although the information is accurate … the contrived and unrealistic setting will make the book unappealing to fiction readers."

The authors turn their attention to women flyers in their books Girls Fly! and Women Who Fly. Girls Fly! is a fictional tale about Charlene who wants to become a pilot someday. While her brothers ridicule her, the story goes on to detail the role women have played in the history of flight. Erlene Bishop Killeen, writing in the School Library Journal, felt that the facts about women flyers are "accurate and inspiring," but should have been told as straight history because "it is very unsatisfying as a story."

Women Who Fly is the authors' nonfiction account of women aviators, from the early days of pioneer women flyers like Harriet Quimby, who was the first female licensed pilot, to modern-day female astronauts. In a review for Booklist, Carolyn Phelan felt that the "lack of source notes and index greatly limit the book's usefulness for research" but also called the effort a "cohesive, historical narrative." Writing in Air Power History, Jordan S. Goldberg called the book "very entertaining and interesting."



Air Power History, summer, 2004, Jordan S. Goldberg, review of Women Who Fly, p. 54.

Booklist, February 15, 2001, Vanessa Bush, review of Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen, p. 1098; February 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Tuskegee Airmen Story, p. 1089; July, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Women Who Fly, p. 1840.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2003, Robert J. Jakeman, review of Black Knights, p. 980.

School Library Journal, March, 2003, Mary Mueller, review of Tuskegee Airmen: American Heroes, p. 234; January, 2004, Erlene Bishop Killeen, review of Girls Fly!, p. 98; September, 2004, Laura Reed, review of Women Who Fly, p. 227.