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Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States

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45 review for Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Like many youngsters, I love picture books about flying and pilots. But I also adore biographies about individuals who made a difference in the world around them and whose stories are little known or forgotten. All of these needs are met in this well-written and well-researched biography of James Herman Banning, a groundbreaking African-American who dreamed of taking to the skies and then made his dreams come true. Growing up in Oklahoma, James was fascinated by flight, a fascination fueled by t Like many youngsters, I love picture books about flying and pilots. But I also adore biographies about individuals who made a difference in the world around them and whose stories are little known or forgotten. All of these needs are met in this well-written and well-researched biography of James Herman Banning, a groundbreaking African-American who dreamed of taking to the skies and then made his dreams come true. Growing up in Oklahoma, James was fascinated by flight, a fascination fueled by the books he found in the Excelsior library in Guthrie, a plane he saw at the fair, and WWI newsreels. After starting his own business, he searched for someone to give him flying lessons. Eventually he found a teacher and earned his pilot's license after building his own plane. After moving to Los Angeles in order to work as the chief pilot for a flight school run by William Powell. In 1932 he joined forces with Thomas Cox Allen, a mechanic, to achieve his dream of being the first Black man to fly cross-country from LA to New York City. Short of funds for the trip, Banning came up with the idea to allow those who helped them along the way to sign their names on the wings of their plane, the Eaglerock. And that's exactly what they did, halting briefly at various spots along the way to refuel, eat or rest. The text reinforces this idea by the repetition of the line "XXX friends flying along with them" (unpaged). By the time the two men reach their destination, the wings are filled with names--72 of them--from 24 different towns. Talk about a community effort and great determination! The 3,300-mile flight cost them $150 and earned them a lot of goodwill. Readers won't want to miss the note from the author giving background on the research into this story as well as the list of sources, references, and suggested additional reading. Illustrator Floyd Cooper's oil paints are a perfect complement to this inspiring story as he plays with perspective on some pages, showing the Eaglerock flying above fascinated onlookers whose faces are tilted toward the sky and other scenes that show the plane turning sideways in order to make a safe landing. My favorite image, though, portrays Banning himself when he finally got his home-built "ground plane" off the ground and into the air, making him feel as though he had, indeed, "sprouted wings" (unpaged). It would hard to finish reading this picture book and not feel impressed with Banning's determination to achieve his dreams no matter the obstacles. This book would be an excellent addition to a collection devoted to flight, groundbreakers, civil rights, and social justice as well as one acknowledging the impact one individual can have on the world around him/her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Ever since he was a little boy, James Herman Banning has wanted to fly. He learned everything he could about flight, flying machines and pilots, and in 1911 he saw his first real flying machine. By the time he was 21 he could fix most automobiles, motorcycles and farm equipment, but he still had not learned to fly. Because Banning was Black, many opportunities were closed to him, but through the kindness of a white pilot who needed a motorcycle repair eventually Banning learned and by 1932 was d Ever since he was a little boy, James Herman Banning has wanted to fly. He learned everything he could about flight, flying machines and pilots, and in 1911 he saw his first real flying machine. By the time he was 21 he could fix most automobiles, motorcycles and farm equipment, but he still had not learned to fly. Because Banning was Black, many opportunities were closed to him, but through the kindness of a white pilot who needed a motorcycle repair eventually Banning learned and by 1932 was determined to be the first black pilot to fly cross country. With a partner as mechanic and financing the trip themselves, Banning relied on the kindness of the people in the towns they landed in to keep them going all the way from Los Angeles to New York. Well researched from primary sources, this little known hero had to be innovative and determined. I loved that they let the people who helped them sign the plane (I wonder where is it now?). Includes a nice authors note with details about their research, quotation sources, newspaper articles, interviews and documents. Also a list of further reading if you want to know more about black aviators. Cross posted to: https://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    Fascinating picture book biography of African American pilot James Herman Banning who made a transatlantic flight from Los Angeles to California with the support other African Americans. Certain passages make you feel as if you're flying. Particularly heart-warming was the fact that the voyage was only possible because of people willing to help repair the plane and feed and house both the pilot and mechanic. To commemorate that support, the plane was covered with the signatures of all those who Fascinating picture book biography of African American pilot James Herman Banning who made a transatlantic flight from Los Angeles to California with the support other African Americans. Certain passages make you feel as if you're flying. Particularly heart-warming was the fact that the voyage was only possible because of people willing to help repair the plane and feed and house both the pilot and mechanic. To commemorate that support, the plane was covered with the signatures of all those who helped out. The book also contains heart-breaking details such as the death of Banning's first flight instructor in a crash just hours before Banning was scheduled to take his first solo flight and his untimely death in an airshow crash as a passenger to an inexperienced flyer. Especially impressive is the research information at the end of the book. A good read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Connie Klever

    This biography stands out for several reasons. Although Banning faced hardships in his attempt to be the first African American to fly across the country (ex: finding places to stop & re-fuel safely; funding), the focus is truly on how communities of black and, in some cities, white Americans came together to help Banning reach this goal in 1931. People who helped Banning were invited to write their names in the "Gold Book" which started out as the wings of the airplane and eventually the entire This biography stands out for several reasons. Although Banning faced hardships in his attempt to be the first African American to fly across the country (ex: finding places to stop & re-fuel safely; funding), the focus is truly on how communities of black and, in some cities, white Americans came together to help Banning reach this goal in 1931. People who helped Banning were invited to write their names in the "Gold Book" which started out as the wings of the airplane and eventually the entire aircraft by the time he landed in NY. Many lovely illustrations by Cooper depicting communities and individuals supporting Banning's endeavor.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    This inspiring story of aviation pioneer James Herman Banning is well researched and beautifully illustrated. This story is a great example of dedication and perseverance. Be warned parents, the authors note at the end about Banning's death may be a bit dark for younger readers. This inspiring story of aviation pioneer James Herman Banning is well researched and beautifully illustrated. This story is a great example of dedication and perseverance. Be warned parents, the authors note at the end about Banning's death may be a bit dark for younger readers.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ann Williams

    The true story of James Herman Banning, the first African American pilot to fly across the United States. A lesson in determination and never giving up. The author's note is important and a great example of research and the quest for primary sources. The true story of James Herman Banning, the first African American pilot to fly across the United States. A lesson in determination and never giving up. The author's note is important and a great example of research and the quest for primary sources.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    The inspiring true story of James Herman Banning, the first African American pilot to fly across the country. Great illustrations by Floyd Cooper.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Y.Poston

    Gorgeous illustrations & gorgeously woven account.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Wtf

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A fascinating introduction to pilot James Herman Banning who became the first African American pilot to fly across the United States.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  13. 4 out of 5

    JTSB

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bozhena Levine

  15. 5 out of 5

    Annalisa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  17. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Rooney

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caralen

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dylan Teut

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emelia Gauch

  24. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Young

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Boling

  29. 5 out of 5

    J L

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susanna Skarland

  31. 5 out of 5

    Keri

  32. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  33. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  34. 4 out of 5

    Alison Grice

  35. 5 out of 5

    Annelisa

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Wright Oelkers

  37. 5 out of 5

    Olisha

  38. 5 out of 5

    Lane

  39. 5 out of 5

    Eti

  40. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  41. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  42. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hamer

  43. 4 out of 5

    Khari

  44. 5 out of 5

    BCALA-CT

  45. 5 out of 5

    Patricia (Punky Bookster)

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