CHAPTER ONE



MARIA:
It is raining this morning. The sky is cool gray as I watch my pet pigeon Amelia fly from my bedroom window. From my room in Brooklyn I can see all the way to Manhattan. I stare out at the city wondering where she goes and what she sees. I wonder if Amelia goes there?

Can you imagine? Can you imagine flying over the city? What does Brooklyn look like from up high? Is it different from Manhattan, Queens, or the Bronx? What do the trees in Central Park look like from above? What does my school look like from this amazing perspective?

MARIA's MOTHER:
"Maria! Maria! It is time to leave for school."

MARIA:
I had better hurry. After school, I will watch for Amelia to return.

MARIA:
After school today, I raced home through the rain holding my books so they didn't get wet. I shook the rain off my coat and hat then ran to my room. It had just come in. A new book about Amelia Earheart had arrived at the library today. I can't wait to read it!

Amelia Earheart is my favorite heroine. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. I have enjoyed reading her stories so much that I named my pet pigeon Amelia.

MARIA:
High up on the roof-top of my Brooklyn apartment is my father's pigeon coop. He raises racing pigeons and lets me help care for them. I love to come up to the roof and just look at the city. I can see so far over the buildings and on a clear day I can see Manhattan.

Ever since my seventh birthday I have come up to the loft everyday. That was when my father gave me Amelia. It was the best birthday present ever.

MARIA's FATHER:
"Maria! Maria!"

MARIA:
I wonder what Dad wants? Before setting Amelia back into the coop, I give her a kiss. As I wander down the stairs, I think about where Amelia went today.

MARIA:
"What do you want Dad?"

MARIA's FATHER:
"We just received a package for you from grandpa. Here, open the letter."

MARIA's GRANDFATHER:
"Maria, many years ago, your great grandfather was in the great war, World War I. He did not help fight with guns, instead he helped with pigeons.

He was stationed in New Jersey where he trained pigeons to fly with tiny cameras strapped to their crops. The photographs from these cameras gave our troops a look at the enemy from above.

For many years after the war, your great grandfather used the camera to capture photos of New York from above. He later gave the camera to me and now I pass it on to you.

Now you can see what the city looks like from above. I have included a few photos your great grandfather took of the city. See if you can figure out where these photos were taken.

Love,
Grandpa."

MARIA:
"I can't believe it! Just look at the tiny camera. It has bright brass levers and a leather strap. There is also a package of film. And look! These are the old photographs of the city."

"I'll go get Amelia and we can try on the camera."

MARIA:
(shouting with excitement) "It fits! It fits! Let's send her out right now Dad. I bet she will bring back some great pictures. Let's send out now, please."

MARIA's FATHER:
"We should wait til morning. The sun will be setting soon and it will be too dark to take pictures."

MARIA:
"Ok Dad."

MARIA:
The sun finally set and it was my bedtime. Mom said I had to stop looking at the camera and get some sleep. But I can't sleep. My mind is thinking of all the wonderful pictures of the city Amelia will bring home. I wonder where she will go and what she will see.

I am awake early staring out my window waiting for the first sign of the sun to rise above the distant rooftops. When the gold light begins to flood my room, I race to wake dad.

He is already dressed and is as excited as I am. He asks me to go get Amelia while he loads the film into the camera.

It took only minutes to get Amelia dressed. Now she is ready for her adventure and I will learn where she goes and what she sees.


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