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Brave, trail-blazing and glamorous, this stunning picture book tells the true story of how Jean Batten became an international superstar for her solo flights across the world.

The little plane has been flying across the sea for eight hours.
Huge black clouds surround it. Rain pours in. Wind slams. The aircraft is tossed around like a leaf.
The pilot stares into the darkness. How much fuel is left? Is she flying in the right direction? How long till she reaches land?

In 1934, Jean Batten set a world record for the fastest flight from England to Australia. Just two years later, she made the first-ever solo flight from England to New Zealand. Jean's fearless determination and flying skills helped her survive storms and crashes, as she crossed great oceans and lonely deserts in her tiny plane.
This gripping true story with its dazzling illustrations is the third from the award-winning creators of the picture books First to the Top and Speed King.

NZ Listener 50 Best Books for Kids


His stories are wonderful, full of action and are always teaching the reader about some aspect of our amazing country and our people.

Gisborne Herald

This is a great book that celebrates courage, resilience and empowerment. Dramatic illustrations capture perfectly the epic scale of her achievements.

Helen Spiers, Otago Daily Times

Another excellent biography from the duo who introduced kids to Ed Hillary and Burt Munro. This story of the life of our pioneer female aviator is a reminder that not all great achievers find happiness.

Ann Packer, NZ Listener

Hill brings to life the jawdropping feats of a can-do girl from Rotorua, an aviation pioneer who set a string of records, broke hearts, and smashed planes all over the world. She twice flew from Britain to Australia but, on the second occasion, crossed the yawning 2100km gap to New Zealand, not knowing at the time whether her plane was capable of making it. ...Great read.

Peter Shand, Rotorua Daily Post

The first page of Sky High: Jean Batten’s Incredible Flying Adventures grabs you. Whether or not you’ve heard of Jean Batten or know anything about her, Phoebe Morris’ massive, terrifying clouds threatening to envelop the tiny plane and David Hill’s present tense, short sentences make this picture book a thriller from the start. . . . Sky High will enable another generation to feel Jean’s indomitable spirit of exploration and, like me, to be inspired to find out more.

Louise Ward, The Sapling

Sensitively told by David Hill and dramatically illustrated by Phoebe Morris. Her first double page spread of a small plane tossing in the turbulent skies with the sight of New Zealand in the distance sets the standard. . . . this is another winner.

Bob Docherty, Bob's Book Blog

Can I say I just love this book? It is the most fantastic read-aloud introduction to biographies for Grade 2. They were on the edge of their seats, each time she failed and tried again. Every time I closed the book and said "and then she gave up" they all shouted NO SHE DIDN'T. Great illustrations, told at just the right level and highlighting someone succeeding against the odds. What more can a teacher-librarian ask for?

Nadine, Good Reads

[A] delightfully accessible book about the famous New Zealand female pilot that combines a gripping story, lovely illustrations and impressively thorough research.

Marianne Tremaine, NZ Heritage

Phoebe Morris had everything in its place in the air, with great variation in views as she helped to tell the story of Jean Batten. Her small characters were some of my favourites, with plenty of expression and attitude shown by Batten through the illustrations.

Sarah Forster, The Sapling

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    July 31, 2017

    Picture Puffin

    32 pages

    RRP $25.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by David Hill

No Safe Harbour
First to the Top
Speed King
Enemy Camp
Flight Path
Coming Back
The Deadly Sky
My Brother's War
Brave Company
See Ya, Simon
Hero of the Sea
The Fair and the Foul
Australia and the Monarchy
The Special Relationship
The Making of Australia
The Great Race
The Gold Rush
The River Runs
The Forgotten Children


The Diary Of A Young Girl
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
Paper Planes
Princess: Ultimate Sticker Book
Our Australian Girl: The Pearlie Stories
Fearless Frederic
Malala's Magic Pencil
Meet... Weary Dunlop
Meet... Banjo Paterson
Meet... Sidney Nolan
The Dinosaur That Pooped The Past!
Dodger's Guide to London
Meet... Captain Cook
Meet... the Flying Doctors
Meet... Nellie Melba
Dr. Seuss The Great Doodler
Meet... Douglas Mawson
Meet... the ANZACs
Meet... Ned Kelly