'The Wrong Wrights': Kids Save Flight in New Smithsonian Comic

"The Wrong Wrights," by Steve Hockensmith, Chris Kientz and Lee Nielsen, follows four middle schoolers as they go back in time to save the future of air travel. It is the first book in the "Secret Smithsonian Adventures" series of graphic novels. (Image credit: Smithsonian Books)

Four young museumgoers travel back in time to save the future of winged aircraft (and spacecraft, too) in a new comic for young readers released by Smithsonian Books.

"The Wrong Wrights" (Smithsonian Books, 2016), by Steve Hockensmith, Chris Kientz and Lee Nielsen, is the first graphic novel in "Secret Smithsonian Adventures," a series aimed at kids ages 9 through 12 that will tie time-travel adventures to the many Smithsonian museums and galleries, and the science behind them.

In this case, the four middle school students win a contest to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, but begin to feel ill — and then they see that all the planes and spacecraft on display have been replaced with balloons, blimps and dirigibles. It's up to the four to head back in time to visit a major test flight of the Wright brothers' prototype airplane and figure out how to switch the time line back. Along the way, the kids run up against historical figures, as well as a few mysterious imposters.

The short comic is fun and fast-paced, with interesting historical trivia about aircraft and enough humor and action to keep readers engaged. (Plus, a quick epilogue clarifies what really happened on the day of the flight.) And it hints at a much bigger story in store for the four middle schoolers, delving into all the science and history the museums have to offer.

This book is perfect for young aviation buffs, but the series should offer something intriguing for everyone, regardless of where their interests lie — the next book is called "Claws and Effect" and yes, it will include dinosaurs.

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.