So, this is weird. I’m typing this on September 1. I got up and sleepily browsed Twitter as I do in the early morning, only to see that The Girl In The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke is out in the world today!
I think to myself, “I loved that book. Let me click over and make sure my review looks good.” The report appears to be nonexistent. Either the internet ate it, or I only thought about writing it. Who knows? The interesting thing is that I know I read this book months ago, remembered how much I loved it, and am speed typing it before I leave the house in an hour.
“If you give a girl a magic balloon, she’ll rage against the machine.”
That should sell it to most of you. This book is magical YA at its best. The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the tale of Ellie Baum, a teen who inadvertently time travels back to 1988 East Berlin via a magical red balloon. While there, she learns that there is an entire network of balloon makers, who are using their magic to fight oppression by giving the gift of freedom to selected passengers. But how?
Ellie Baum’s grandfather is a Jewish World War II survivor, and Ellie has grown up hearing the story of how he escaped a death camp; that a girl in a purple dress handed him a red balloon, and it took him out. So when she is in Germany on a school trip, and she sees a red balloon, she grabs it, wanting her picture taken with it. She is transported back in time, in East Germany where red balloons can take people over the Berlin Wall, to safety.
Telling you much more will get into spoilers. This one is for all my Dr. Who fans. Imagine an extra long episode where you travel to both East Germany WW2 and East Germany 1988 and back to the present. It’s cool.