Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The Hallelujah Flight
Bildner, Phil. 2010. THE HALLELUJAH FLIGHT. Ill. by John Holyfield. New York: Putnam. ISBN 9780399247897 [Suggested Grade Levels K–6]
THE HALLELUJAH FLIGHT is based on a little known but historically important story of African American pilot James Banning and his dream to make a transcontinental flight in 1932. With the help of his mechanic and copilot Thomas Allen, they were able to fix up an old plane and start their journey. James had many obstacles to overcome to make his dream happen, but he had a plan. Since he did not have the kind of money it would take to make such a trip, Banning was going to rely on the goodness of people. If anyone helped them, they would get to sign the wing of the plane so they could go down in history with them. Not everything went the way they wanted. They faced prejudice at airports and restaurants along the way. With the help of family, friends, and new acquaintances, the men were able to fulfill their dream and inspire others by their determination.
John Holyfield’s use of vibrant colors in his illustrations brings Bildner’s words to life. The readers can almost feel the wind in their faces as they travel with the men over the Grand Canyon, sense the terror of possible doom as they fly through a violent thunderstorm, and hear the cheers at their heroes’ welcome in Harlem.
Make a travel guide of James Banning’s trip. Include all of the stops that are located on the map in the endpapers of the book.
Other books for children about people pursuing their dreams:
Pinkney, Andrea. SIT-IN: HOW FOUR FRIENDS STOOD UP BY SITTING DOWN. ISBN 9780316070164
Tavares, Matt. HENRY AARON’S DREAM. ISBN 9780763632243
By Jane Jergensen