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The Hallelujah Flight

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  367 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
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 mechani
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 7th 2010 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published 2010)
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Evelyn Chen
Jan 17, 2010 Evelyn Chen rated it liked it
Shelves: african-american
APA Citation:
Bildner, P., & Holyfield, J. (2010). The Hallelujah Flight. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Interest/Reading Level: K-3

Summary: Bilder illuminates a true story of James Banning and Thomas Allen, two young African-American men who dreamt of being the first of their race to fly across the country and inspire those brought down by the Great Depression. Many dubbed them the Flying Hoboes and insisted they would not make it, but for those who believed, they signed their name on the win
Richelle Blum
Jun 09, 2014 Richelle Blum rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Text to Self
As an educator, I teach all of my students to persevere--to never give up on anything; as giving up is in itself a failure. As an adult, I practice what I preach. This story of the Allen and Banning reminded me of my journey to become a teacher. I knew I wanted to become a teacher, but for some reason, everything I selected for my career was not the easy way out. I chose to endorse in early childhood, which made me take one extra step to gain membership into the program instead of ch
Oct 07, 2013 538AM_Steph rated it liked it
Shelves: reading-methods
Bilder tells the story of the Flying Hobos who are the first African-American pilots to make a transcontinental flight across the US. Despite the racism they encounter along the route, the Flying Hobos continue with their plan, ignoring the negative comments they hear during some of their stops. They instead focus on the positive reactions from others to successfully complete their journey and make history.

"The Hallelujah Flight" would be well-suited for first to third graders and provides a to
Brittany Rockhill
Dec 01, 2016 Brittany Rockhill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
The Hallelujah Flight is an inspiring book that is a true story about, James Banning, the first black aviator to obtain a license from the US Department of Commerce. The book lays out his journey in an interactive and engaging manner. The reader gets lost in his travels. The illustrations display places such as the Grand Canyon and beautiful California. The illustrations show bright color, diversity, and contrast of color. This book is among the top twenty children’s books because it tells a ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Author Phil Bildner and artist John Holyfield have produced an outstanding new picture book on little-known African-American aviator James Banning, the first black aviator to complete a trans-continental flight in 1932. Narrated by Banning's mechanic and co-pilot, Thomas Allen, the book is based on the story of their journey, undertaken in an airplane that appeared to be barely flight-worthy. "The crew from the airport thought we'd about lost our marbles...'The Flying Hoboes!' they all called ...more
I really enjoy this book with a sneak preview of two brother having courage to build a airplane with a problem with the wings. The illustration is wonderful and very humorous. I really appreciate the colorful picture that will help the children to be egaged to the scene of flying over the State of Liberty, seeing the green fields.

The author provide some historial background in Oklahoma. The children will be interested in the history and be told about an African-American brother want to change h
Sarah W
This work of fiction is based on life of James Banning, the first African American to complete a transcontinental flight. It is told from the viewpoint of Thomas Allen, Banning's copilot and mechanic. Others were skeptical of Allen & Banning, naming them the Flying Hoboes. They started out on September 19, 1932. In return for supplies and food, people could write their names on Banning's plane.

As the plane moved east, Banning and Allen ran into the bigger challenge of prejudice and were tur
Jun 18, 2016 Roben rated it really liked it
Reading Phil Bildner's book will be the first time most folks have ever heard of James Banning. To inspire and encourage people during the Great Depression, he and his copilot Thomas Allen decided to fly from Los Angeles to New York. In exchange for food, gasoline, and help, they would let people sign the wing of their plane. The plane was in pretty bad shape when they started and they were dubbed the Flying Hoboes. But they persevered and managed to complete their mission. They encountered a ...more
Scott Pagel
Oct 19, 2013 Scott Pagel rated it really liked it
In the Author's Note at the beginning of the book, Phil Bidner makes it clear that this book, "while based on actual events... should be considered a work of fiction." I'm glad I knew this before reading the book, otherwise I would have felt somewhat deceived. I still have some reservations about this book because we don't know which parts are true and which parts are speculation. In a book about prejudice, I'd like to be more certain. However, thanks to the disclosure by the author, I enjoyed ...more
The more history I think I know, the less I find that I really do know. As I've written before, I love to discover little-known pieces of history such as the story told in this picture book and then share them with others. Back in 1932 James Banning and his mechanic and copilot Thomas Allen became the first African-Americans to fly across the United States. The book describes how they cobbled together a plane and flew from Los Angeles to New York City. While they received help from many of the ...more
Sep 13, 2010 Davy rated it really liked it
The Hallelujah Flight relates the true story of aviator James Banning, who, in 1932, became the first African-American to complete a transcontinental flight. Readers experience this thrilling, unlikely adventure through the eyes of Banning’s young mechanic and co-pilot, Thomas Allen. Relying on the kindness of strangers for food and spare parts, “The Flying Hoboes” must overcome many formidable obstacles on their long journey — a rickety plane with a mind of its own, empty pockets and bellies, a ...more
Despite a rickety airplane and a lack of food, fuel and supplies, James Banning and Thomas Allen left an airfield in Los Angeles, California in the autumn of 1932 in an attempt to fly "from sea to shining sea". They succeeded in less than three weeks due to their skill and ingenuity. The obstacles they encountered included bad weather and racial prejudice. After each safe escape from dangers in the air and dangers on the ground, they shouted a "Hallelujah!", which led them to brand their trip ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it
James Banning had a dream that astonished his mechanic, Thomas Allen. “Mr. Allen, my dream is to fly a plane from sea to shining sea, and this here 0XX6 Eagle Rock is our plane. But first I’ll need you to overhaul the engine.” It was 1932 and most everybody was broke. How could they afford the repairs and fuel to keep the biplane in the air? Banning knew how, “Whenever people give us food, fuel and supplies along the way, they can write their names on the tip of the wing. They’ll fly into the ...more
May 12, 2011 Charlyn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Texas Bluebonnet Award reading list 2011-12
As he did with TBA Award winning picture book Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, Phil Bildner introduces the reader to a not-so-famous character from our American history. In this book, copilot and mechanic Thomas Allen tells the story of African-American pilot James Banning's dream and eventual flight across the United States. Because of their derelict plane, the two were dubbed "the Flying Hoboes." Along the way they faced engine problems, bad weather, and prejudice. Together, and with the help o ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it
The Hallelujah Flight is an illustrated journey of James Banning's and Thomas Allen's transcontinental flight in a plane they overhauled themselves in 1932. It took them 21 days and many "hallelujah" moments, such as coming face-to-face with prejudiced townspeople, ferocious storms, and lack of food. The two men were dubbed the "Flying Hoboes" because their mission was considered such a dangerous and foolhardy one, but Banning believed in it; he said anyone that helped them in this mission, from ...more
Feb 12, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, picture, 2012
James Banning, an early African American aviator, flew across the United States with his co-pilot and mechanic, Thomas Allen. Narrated by Allen, this fictional story describes how these two men found support from friends and family, and faced prejudice, as they hopped from California to New York. The author's note is well done and describes Bildner's inspiration and the historical basis of the story. I didn't love the artwork and I didn't feel like Bildner quite captured how extraordinary ...more
Brenda R
Oct 25, 2011 Brenda R rated it it was amazing
Este libro me encanta historico.Este libro se trata de unos hombres qye estan hasiendo una avion pero no servia se les cayo 3 veses asta que una ves la hicieron bien y fueron para Nueva York y no los querian ayi porque heran African American.Mi esquema es que una bes salio en las notisias que hisieron una abion y luego no les sirbio y la isieron otra bes.Mi pregunto queria hacer una avion otra ves si la isieron 3 beses.Mi recuerdo cuando mi tio trabajaba en el arupuerto el me dijo que un African ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
This is a book about an aviation feat that deserves a lot more attention than it gets, not because it broke records, but because it managed overcome prejudice that honestly threatened to to derail the entire endeavor. I really enjoyed this story and definitely plan to share it with classes with they cover other aviators. The illustrations were wonderfully colorful and detailed, a real pleasure to look at as I read. The text is readable and not bogged down in too much detail. All in all, I really ...more
Maggie Burgess
Jun 14, 2014 Maggie Burgess rated it really liked it
Great story about someone I wish I had learned about before now. I'm surprised I've never heard of him. And yet, this is considered a work of fiction, so I don't know that I really know much about him still. That's my only disappointment. I guess it's good that I now have a new person I want to research, but I hate that having read a book "about" him, I don't feel I know anything about him (what was true and what wasn't?) Anyway, I enjoyed the illustrations and the story, and would definitely ...more
Mar 07, 2015 Mari rated it really liked it
Phil Bildner purpose whem writing this book is for young readers to hear about the heroic act of two African American aviators who managed to take their plane across the United States with no money. In his web page, Phil expresses how we teach students about Amelia Earhart, but little do we know about James Banning and Thomas Allen. Personally, I admire what they have done. Not only they accomplished their goal, dream, but they did so during one of the worse times of this nation, during great ...more
This book is fantastic. I read it to a group of first graders studying Amelia Earhart -- the book is funny and engaging, and the artwork (acrylics on canvas) is outstanding -- bright and cheerful and just realistic enough; it totally captures their soaring excitement. Plus, this is an important historical event -- the first succesful transcontinental flight by an African-American -- that more people should know about. (I had never heard of James Banning before I read it.) Plus, they stopped in ...more
Kacie Kirk
Apr 19, 2015 Kacie Kirk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
This is a great book that shares the story of the first flight and how people also came together to help them out. The pilots just took off on faith and knowing that they lived in a country where people helped each other out. This was a time though when race was still an issue so this book also helps young children to be open to this and how important it is to help everyone out no matter what they look like. Their flight was successful, but they then gave the success to everyone who wanted to ...more
Blanca P.
Oct 27, 2011 Blanca P. rated it it was amazing
MY opinion is that I like this historical ficcion book because it talks about two men who called themselfs hoboes and that they were fixing a plane.MY quick retelling is that two boys hoboes they fix a plane.MIDDLE when they fix the plane they went for a ride across america.END the two african americans celebrate a party becaushey foundthe statue of liberty.MY schema is that this book reminds me of my unckle fixing a plane.MY questions is how did they pass over to Texas.I recomend this book to ...more
Ana C
Oct 17, 2011 Ana C rated it did not like it
The hallelujah flight is about 2 men that fly in a airplane call 0xx6 Eagle Rock. The genre of this book is traditional literature. My schema with this book is that when i was little my uncle always used to fly airplanes.I recommend this book to everybody. I think that this book is kinda fun. My question is why did they named they selfs the flying hoboes? In this book the men always yelled Hallelujah when they were gonna fly. In the story the men pass different places and theymgot food. Thy ...more
Stephanie M
Oct 27, 2011 Stephanie M rated it it was amazing


Denise Z
Oct 07, 2011 Denise Z rated it it was ok
My opion of the book is that i like the book alot.The genere is historical fiction.The book is about two hoboes and they wanted to ride a plane from California to New York.But they first hab to cheket the plane if it can fly.My shema is that one day i want to ried a plane.My question is that why did they want to go to New York?I recommend the book to Litzy cause i think she will travel New York to.
Bianca A
Oct 18, 2011 Bianca A rated it it was amazing
My opinion of this book that it was amazing.Its genre is historical ficcion cause it has made up characters,but its setting is read.My quick retelling is that their are 2 black men stopping every were.The 2 men decided to fly from Los Angeles to Harlem,N.Y.My schema is that there were 2 guys stopping every were just like here.My question is that why did they stopped every were.I will recomend this book to 2 mans.
Edgar C.
Oct 14, 2011 Edgar C. rated it it was amazing
A mi meencanta este libro de ficcion historica.Este libro fue escrito porel autor Phil Bildner.Este libro se trata de llagar asta el oceano a oceano brilloso.yo tengo esquema con esta libro porque mi amigo Brandon juntando dinero para un motor de una abion de prollecto para la escuela.Yo quiero recordar que los americanos crusaron el oceano brilloso.yo se lo recomiendo a mi amigo Brandon porque los americanos juntaron comida praa el motor de la abion
Sep 08, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
My four-year-old son picked this book out from the library last week.

This was a longer book, so I was a bit anxious when I started reading it that it would not retain my son's attention. I needn't have worried. This story was so well-told, so descriptive, so exciting, that my little boy was hooked from start to finish.

And the illustrations were absolutely perfect for the period of the story and the tenor of the book.

Hallelujah, indeed!

Dec 08, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-picture-books
I selected this true story to read aloud to those third graders who came to school the day the day before Thanksgiving. Not your traditional gratitude book, yet it tells of the generosity that assisted James Banning and co-pilot Thomas Allen successfully fly between Los Angeles and New York City in 1932. Mixed reviews from the two third grade classes but guaranteed to get a laugh when you read about how hot in got in the plane and guaranteed to generate discussion about racism.
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Phil Bildner, 41, grew up in the New York City suburb of Jericho, Long Island. He attended the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received his undergraduate degree in political science. Phil then attended the New York University School of Law (J.D. ’90) and was admitted to the bar in both New York and New Jersey.

Phil went to work for a large Manhattan law firm; however, afte
More about Phil Bildner...

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