Above / On Aug. 21, Gene Nora Jessen will celebrate her new book ‘Sky Girls’ during her true-story presentation at Anderson’s Bookshop in downtown Naperville.

Celebrating books and their authors every day, Anderson’s Bookshop, an independent enterprise for more than 50 years, is located at 123 W. Jefferson Ave. in downtown Naperville.

Veteran Aviator Gene Nora Jessen, who was recently featured in Netflix’s “Mercury 13,” shares the exhilarating true story of the unsung pioneers of female aviation in her new book Sky Girls: The True Story of the First Women’s Cross-Country Air Race.

The book goes on sale August 18, 2018.

In a timely presentation, beginning at 7PM Tues., Aug. 21, Jessen will be at Anderson’s Bookshop discussing her book and the fates of the 20 contestants who took part in the 1929 Air Race.

Dubbed the Powder Puff Derby by humorist Will Rogers after watching the women sneak a look in their compact mirrors, the racers, including Amelia Earhart, thrilled the nation as they fought against numerous hazards like disastrous weather and possible sabotage during the nine-day, 2,759-mile transcontinental race from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, Ohio.

Gene Nora Jessen

Gene Nora Jessen (pronounced Janora) was most recently featured in the Netflix documentary Mercury 13. She was one of thirteen female pilots who passed the astronaut physical exam at Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque in the summer of 1961 and came to be known as the Mercury 13. However, further testing was canceled and the program was halted.

In 1962, Jessen flew one of Beech Aircraft’s three Musketeer airplanes in flying formation across forty-eight states in ninety days and went on to become a sales demonstration pilot (always flying in a dress and high heels).

Jessen is the past president of the Ninety-Nines, the international women pilots organization, and founding member of their 99s Museum of Women Pilots. She has served on the FAA’s Women’s Advisory Committee on Aviation.

She lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband, Bob, who she ran an aviation fixed-base operation business with for many years.

Submitted by Katie McGovern, Publicity & Marketing Assistant, for Sourcebooks Landmark