The Hallelujah Flight

by Phil Bildner and John Holyfield

James Banning set out to be the first African American to make a transcontinental... read more

James Banning set out to be the first African American to make a transcontinental flight across the country with few resources but a single great idea: invite everyone who was willing to help him and copilot Thomas Allen along the way to sign the wings of the plane so that they could be part of the journey. Banning and Allen were relying on people to donate everything from fuel to food to a place to sleep as they traveled from place to place in the midst of the Depression in 1932. They weren’t always welcomed where they landed, and they sometimes faced overt racism, but they completed their historic flight thanks to the kindness of strangers whose names they carried with them. Phil Bildner’s fictionalized account of Banning and Allen’s optimism and accomplishment is distinguished by lively, language-rich storytelling and is set against John Holyfield’s buoyant, upbeat illustrations. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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