Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States – Louisa Jaggar & Shari Becker, illustrated by Floyd Cooper


  Sprouting Wings: The True Story of James Herman Banning, the First African American Pilot to Fly Across the United States – Louisa Jaggar & Shari Becker, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Crown Books for Young Readers, 9781984847621, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

 Genre: Picture book 

 What did you like about the book? I hate to admit it besides Bessie Coleman and the Tuskegee Airmen I did not know any other Black aviator stories. It shows how limited the stories children have access to. I am thankful for this story because it has added another notable black hero to my knowledge bank. The book introduces us to James Herman Banning. For his entire life James wanted to fly, a curiosity that started when he was young and flying a kite. James’s parents continued to grow his passion for flying by bringing him to the one and only black owned library. I appreciated the different lesser known facts this story brought into the fold along with the main narrative. James ends up only going to college for one year due to the financial burden of attending. It was through this decision that he ended up meeting his good friend Raymond Fisher who taught him how to fly. However, Lieutenant Fisher never got to get James his solo flying hours due to his unfortunate passing. So James had to figure out how to get his solo hours. He eventually and through his own persistence got his solo hours in! He ends up eventually flying across the country as the first African American to do so. The important part of that achievement is not that James was able to do this all on his own but that it was with the help of each community that they stopped in, they were able to make it to their next flight destination. Together we can! There is quite more writing on each page than I expected for a picture book so the narrative would not be as quick to read to younger readers. The images are fun and the color scheme for the images land more in the earth and sky tones. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No, I learned a lot of new facts from this book. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is for the reader who is always gazing up into the sky wondering and fascinated by airplanes. It is best for children ages 7  years old and up. 

Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle schools

Where would you shelve it?

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 03/25/2021

This entry was posted in *Book Review, African Americans, Airplanes, Biography, Floyd Cooper, Louisa Jaggar, Shari Becker and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.