The Girl with the Red Balloon
Written by Katherine Locke
(Albert Whitman & Company, 2017)
Last fall, I won a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke from Natalie Aguirre’s Literary Rambles.
I immediately read The Girl with the Red Balloon. Who can not read a book with a tag that says The wall keeps us in. Magic gets us out.?
The tale is told of Ellie, a girl who visits the Berlin Wall Memorial during a school field trip. Ellie has family ties to World War II and Germany, as her grandfather miraculously escaped from a death camp. As Ellie considers the impact of that horrible time period, she notices a red balloon. Innocently, she grabs the string and is immediately deposited in East Berlin in 1988, where she is found by Kai, a member of an underground society. Ellie, Kai, and several others must work to figure out how and why Ellie was transported back in time when the purpose of the red balloons was to take death camp members over the wall and away from a certain terrible fate.
Much history is shared in the telling of this story. I loved the mixture of magical realism, history, teen relationships, family heritage, and mystery. Danger, high stakes, death, and good versus evil all blend together in this great story. Ellie is stuck in the past and must find a way to return to her own time. But this is complicated by magical developments and a budding romance.
Locke tells the story from different viewpoints, but the switch off is easy to follow as every chapter is clearly labeled with the point of view character. I had to focus a bit to understand the historical connections, but the book is well written and engaging.
The Girl with the Red Balloon is a great read for anyone who enjoys history hooked together with a bit of magic.
P.S. Look what comes out this fall!