In the past few years, there have been some fine books that you should consider adding to your kite library. Two are from the world of fine art: one features the life and work of Tyrus Wong; the other, the contemporary work of Jacob Hashimoto. If you are at all interested in paper and bamboo kites, On Paper will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about paper. For those of you interested in the history of flight, Falling Upwards is a wonderful, romantic look at the history of ballooning and balloonists, while Birdmen explores the rocky relationship between the Wright Brothers and their early competitors, especially Glenn Curtiss. Finally, there are two books that tangentially relate to the history and use of kites: Frozen in Time describes in accurate detail the use of a Gibson Girl kite system in an arctic survival situation in WWII; Thunderstruck is a real-life murder mystery in which Marconi, his kites, and wireless telegraphy play out in an unbelievable true story.
Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong
Published by The Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco
Certainly, just the chapter “Flying Kites” is enough inspiration for most kitemakers and fliers. The diversity of kites, their beauty and functionality – inspirational! But the remainder of the book brings Tyrus’ life work into focus, from Bambi to art after Disney, to toys and kites. Tyrus Wong’s life is an amazing American success story. Author Michal Labrie says the book offers “an opportunity to encounter this humble charming artist, who, to this day, is unaware of the scope of his talent.”