November 1, 2003
Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780689845543
Ages 10-14

Buy the Book


Race for the Sky Quiz

Book Excerpt


Based on the true story of a boy who was one of five witnesses to the first flight in 1903. Johnny Moore lives in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina at the turn of the twentieth century. He is there to witness the Wright brothers make history by becoming the first people to fly. But Johnny’s life changes years before the dramatic first flight, when his mama gives him a blank book and tells him to write in it.

At first, Johnny doesn’t think he has anything interesting to write about in his journal. When he does put his pencil to the paper, his spelling and grammar are terrible. But pretty soon some “dingbatters” from Ohio, called the Wright brothers, breeze into town and Johnny starts to have more of a story to tell. Before he knows it, he is writing every day about helping the Wrights build their flying machine.

Over the course of three years, he forms a friendship with the odd brothers from Ohio, improves his writing and grammar quite a bit, and if he waits long enough, he might even get to fly.


CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominee
Keystone to Reading Award Nominee (Pennsylvania)
South Carolina Book Award Nominee
Volunteer State Book Award Nominee (Tennessee)


“Leave it to Gutman to come up with a novel idea for the Wright brothers’ centennial…thoughtful and inventive.”
School Library Journal


“With wonderful humor, and a keen sense of what life must have been like for Johnny Moore, the author of this book has created a piece of writing which truly takes us to the place and time where it all happened.”
Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews

Comments are closed.