The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner

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The extraordinary story of James Banning, the first African-American pilot to fly across country

During the Great Depression, the ace black pilot James Banning decided to fly from coast to coast to serve as an inspiration to people everywhere. So with a little ingenuity and a whole lot of heart, he fixed up the dilapidated OXX6 Eagle Rock plane with his co-pilot and mechanic, Thomas Allen, earning them the derisive nickname, “The Flying Hobos.” But with the help of friends and family along the way who signed their names on the wings of the plane in exchange for food, fuel and supplies, Banning and Allen made it through treacherous weather and overcame ruthless prejudice to receive a heroes’ welcome upon landing in New York on October 9, 1932.
This exceptional story of determination and pride, shown through John Holyfield’s energetic flight scenes and sweeping landscapes, will put you in the cockpit right alongside Banning and Allen as they complete the journey of a lifetime.

About Phil Bildner

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Phil Bildner, author of the New York Times bestselling Barnstormers series with Loren Long, lives in Brooklyn, New York. John Holyfield lives in Burke, Virginia.
Published January 7, 2010 by Putnam Juvenile. 32 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Naysayers called them the “Flying Hoboes” but they called it “The Hallelujah Flight.” Hallelujah, indeed, to Bildner for finding and telling this story.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Hallelujah Flight

Publishers Weekly

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Propelled by breezy dialogue, including repeated cries of “Hallelujah!”, the story opens as Banning announces how they'll fund the trip: those who donate food, fuel, and supplies along the way can write their names on the wings of the open-cockpit plane (“They'll fly into the history books right ...

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The Hallelujah Flight

USA Today

Phil Bildner, a former history teacher in Brooklyn, made a fortuitous discovery in a crafts shop: a framed photograph of James Banning, the first licensed black aviator.

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Chicago Tribune

When Phil Bildner heard the story of James Banning, an ace stunt pilot and the first African-American to complete a transcontinental flight, in 1932, Bildner wondered why he, a middle-school social studies teacher, hadn't heard of Banning.

Jan 30 2010 | Read Full Review of The Hallelujah Flight

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