Help me get a kid interested in airplanes

Okay, so does anyone have any recommendations for a good book that would get a kid around the age of 10 or so interested in airplanes? He’s gone through a dinosaur phase, an astronomy phase, and he’s currently in a car phase. I’m convinced I can help him along to an appreciation for airplanes, which I got when I was his age from TV shows, model airplanes, and later flight simulations. He doesn’t really have an in with any of those sources, but I’m convinced if I can find the right book, it would nudge him in the right direction. Is there some reference book you guys who are parents might recommend?


None of my kids went through vehicle phases oddly enough. What about getting him a book on making paper airplanes and a ream of copy paper?

I laughed pretty loud at the headline, since I imagined you wanted to kidnap a kid that was interested in Airplanes :-D There is Disney’s new movie, Planes which some say is pretty cool if one likes airplanes? Other than that, I nothing.

As the father of a 10 year old I can say that it is too old for the kiddie type fascination with airplanes. His tastes are a little more sophisticated. My son likes them, but doesn’t die over them the way I did when I was his age. Kids will like what they like, I’ve learned you can introduce them to things, but they will gravitate to whatever interests them.

Your best tool here is probably Netflix. We watched Top Tens last night, the Fighter Plane episode. It was probably more exciting for me than him though.

I did have a book like the big book of planes or something when I was a kid that got me hooked on them.

A good, accessible encyclopedic one about the history of airplanes is this one:

Nicely laid out, quite browsable, lots of cool pictures.

Do you have any flight museums near you?

Or maybe grab a Revell kit and build an airplane with him.

Maybe send him to one of those intensive camps that will teach him that loving cars is wrong, and that it is God’s natural plan that he love airplanes?

Or you can show him this new teaser trailer for the Mighty Eighth.

What’s wrong with being biplane-curious?

When my cousin went thru his airplane phase, he got hooked on Area 88. The English translations of the manga were just coming out when he was 9 or 10, so the timing was perfect; unfortunately, they’re pretty hard to find now. There was also an OAV series which came out in 86, as well as a TV series in04. Not sure how well it holds up now, though; and it might be both too violent (the action scenes) and too boring (the talky scenes) for a 10-year-old (or at least his parents might think so).

Recalling my own youth, the books that spurred my aviation curiosity were from C. B. Colby.

I had a nephew go through a phase where he liked “big trucks”.

Take the kid to an airport, maybe an air museum. Do they still have viewing areas in airports? I think we closed ours down here because of 9-11.

Very nice. :)

In all seriousness though, depending on the kid (and perhaps your tolerance of military geekiness), mixing in the military aspect might help. I have a friend whose kid was not really interested in planes until he got into WWII and started being fascinated with Spitfires, Messerschmidts, etc. Now he is more broadly into aircraft, and his current life’s goal is to be a pilot. He is around the same age (11 years old).

I appreciate the movie, TV show, and air museum suggestions, but this is just a matter of trying to find a good book for the time being. But, yeah, I should work on those other fronts as well. This needs to be an assault on multiple fronts with multiple waves.

That Rise of Flight book looks really sweet, Mr. Boat. For me! I was thinking more of something that would appeal to a kid’s love of taxonomy and visuals. For instance, I had a coffee table book of modern warplanes that was a casualty of a recent book purge. It had big illustrations of each individual aircraft with stats about their engines, armaments, which countries fielding them, and so on. I should probably browse a bookstore for something like that.

Tim, those CB Colby books are probably too dated, but how cool is it to browse through those titles? Check out this charming take on children and gun safety! How pastoral! It’s enough to make a West Coast Liberal like me blanch. :)


For sure they are too dated. But the type of info they contains match the coffee table book you mentioned. Perhaps you can find more of that type.

We are lucky and have a free yearly air show where I live. The kids have been last 2 years, youngest is 3 now oldest 6 and it really turned them on to planes. They get model planes to play with. I also got a big paper aeroplane book with 30 different models to make and play with which they love.

This year they want a remote control glider but i think they are still a bit too young, we are doing stunt kites instead.


I’m not sure if the museum is still there, but there used to be a decent display of planes out at March AFB (near Riverside) that I went to as a kid. They also used to do airshows once or twice a year out there. I think March is decommissioned, but the museum was still there (at least as of a decade or so ago). There might also be similar museums and shows elsewhere in the Southland; I think they used to do them down at the Marine base in El Toro, too (although that’s now a civilian airport), and there might be a museum there, too. Check around and see what military installations there might be around that the kid might enjoy, and what airshows might be coming to town – there’s really nothing quite like going to an airshow!

I think the book end of things really doesn’t kick in until there’s been something else that flags the imagination. For my generation, sadly, the thing that flagged that fascination was probably movies, of which there was a seemingly endless supply of aviation porn in the 80s (sort of like there was muscle car porn in the 60s and 70s).

If the kid is anywhere near Washington DC, the Udvar Hazy annex of the Air and Space Museum is just amazing for anyone who likes planes at all.