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Gutman, Dan.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2003.
IL 3-6, RL 4.3
ISBN 0689845545

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon review
Booktalk #1

Johnny Moore cannot figure out why in the world his mother would give him a blank book!  And he’s even more shocked when she tells him that he has to fill it up with words!  Whatever will he write about? What could possibly happen to a boy living in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina in the early 1900s?

                    [READ EXCERPT FROM BOOK]
                    September 13, 1093

                       Well, it turns out that Elijah was tellin' the God's honest truth.  A crazy dingbatter DID come all the way from Ohio, and he IS buildin' a flying machine.  Leastways that's what everyone's sayin' at the general store.  It's just about the most excitin' thing to happen round here since Blackbeard the Pirate hisself washed up on these shores, and that was nearbout 2 hunnerd years ago.
                       So I says to myself, why would a feller come all the way from Ohio to the Outer Banks of North Carolina?  Why he just build his flyin' machine in Ohio?

                    [END EXCERPT]

                    That “dingbatter” was Mr. Orville Wright, and over the next few years Johnny Moore would learn why he came to the Outer Banks.  And you can learn more by reading RACE FOR THE SKY: THE KITTY HAWK DIARIES OF JOHNNY MOORE by Dan Gutman.  (Melissa Henderson,, Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, IL)

Booktalk #2

Fourteen-year-old Johnny Moore lives in Nags Head, NC, where nothing much happens. His mom gives him a blank book to write in, which he thinks is crazy – that is, until he meets the Wright brothers, who have come to Kitty Hawk to see if they can get their plane to fly. Johnny thinks they are a little loony, and refers to them as “dingbatters.” As he observes the brothers, he warms to the idea of writing in his journal, which he does in a back woodsy, very southern, dialect. He becomes very excited about what the brothers are doing; his observations of their peculiarities and personalities are interesting and often funny, and transport you to that place and time. Scattered throughout the book are photographs, maps and newspaper accounts of actual events, which makes you feel as though you are reading a docudrama instead of fiction. (Prepared by: Susan Henley, SCASL Junior Book Awards)

SUBJECTS:     Wright, Wilbur, 1867-1912 -- Fiction.
                        Wright, Orville, 1871-1948 -- Fiction.
                        Flight -- Fiction.
                        Outer Banks (N.C.) -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
                        Diaries -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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