Lauren Dalzell Settles has wanted to write a children’s book for quite some time. What started as a dream years ago became a reality for her this month. That the book — “Could I be a Pilot?” — represents her passion for taking to the skies and encouraging young girls to pursue their dreams is just an added bonus.
“Once I became a pilot and I had children, I was looking for children’s books about aviation with girls in it. There are two books that I found with females in it, but it was pretty much just a regular story with an airplane in it,” Settles said.
After talking to a colleague who was decorating their child’s room with airplanes and encouraging her idea for the book, she decided it was a good time to start writing.
“I sat down and wrote the concept of the book, including the main things I wanted to have in it,” Settles said. “By June of 2019, I started writing my manuscript with the goal to have it done that year. But I didn’t realize how much went into it.”
Her storyline is based on true occurrences from an aviation day for girls that Settles helped to create. When a publishing company in Canada reached out to her, she knew everything was starting to come together.
“It all started on my very first aviation day; I met a young girl who wrote in for a scholarship. She got it the next year, and to this day she still talks about it. I was even able to give her an airplane ride,” Settles said. “ In the book, the character sees the female pilot, goes to Girl’s Aviation Day, and is inspired to pursue that dream.”
Settles’ goal is to break down barriers for young girls who may see a future in aviation as unattainable.
“One of my best friends has a 4-year-old that loves airplanes, she doesn’t play with baby dolls. I feel like it would be inspiring for other little girls out there to read a book like this,” Settles said. “If you asked me five years ago if I would become an author, I never would have thought it.”
As far as future plans, the new author hopes to create other books about aviation including air traffic control, mechanics, jet pilots, and astronauts. Settles reached out to Barnes and Noble to see if they will host a book signing and she hopes to visit some local elementary schools to read her book to students soon.
Now that she has discovered firsthand all that goes into writing a children’s book, she has a new appreciation for authors.
“There was so much that went into it.” Settles said. “Seeing how it pops off the shelf and what it includes made me appreciate the authors a whole lot more. I bought two children’s books recently and when reading them, I think about how the author breathed into it to make it what it is.”
“Could I Be a Pilot?” is available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and through the publisher’s website here. The E-book version debuted on Google Play and the iTunes Store on Apple Books.
“I am most excited about inspiring little girls about aviation and feeding that fire that they have,” Settle said. “I feel like there are people out there that want a book like this but can’t really find it. I’m hoping it either sparks a little girl’s imagination or continues to feed that dream so she knows it’s possible.”