Race for the Sky: The Kitty Hawk Diaries of Johnny Moore by Dan Gutman

Young Johnny Moore was curious when a formal, well-dressed man showed up in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in the fall of 1900, and began setting up camp on the beach. What was more interesting to Johnny was all the material that the man brought with him: pine boards, long wooden rods, spools of wire, and yards of white cloth. “This dingbatter is surely touched in the head”, he thought. After snooping around his campsite, Johnny is finally introduced to Wilbur Wright and to his pet project: a flying machine.

“‘Are you a scientist?’[asked Johnny].
“‘No,’ says [Wilbur], ‘I operate a bicycle shop with my brother in Dayton, Ohio’…As he’s talkin’ I’m thinkin’ in my head, A BICYCLE SHOP? He runs a bicycle shop, and this dingbatter thinks he’s gonna build a FLYIN’ MACHINE? He IS touched. But I don’t say that.”

Soon, Wilbur’s brother Orville joins him, and the quest to invent the world’s first powered flying machine begins with the help of Johnny and others who paid the Wright brothers visits during their three years of experimenting.
Throughout this time, Johnny faithfully keeps a journal of his experiences with the brothers, charting their successes and failures, and noting the dealings of their rivals who joined the “race for the sky”.

Based on the real-life journals and scrapbooks of Johnny Moore, Race for the Sky shows the famous Wright brothers through the eyes of an actual witness who casually observed the conquering of a seemingly impossible feat: man in flight.