The Girl with the Red Balloon

When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

  • 288 Pages
  • 5.5" x 8.25"
  • 9780807529379
  • September 2017

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  • 9780807529355
  • September 2017

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  • Loved this magical devastation!

    - Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl From Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time

  • Through interlocking timelines, Katherine Locke inspires us with the hope written into every magician’s balloon, and a tender, aching romance. Ellie’s tale of a girl lost in time pulled me right along with her as she soared above her circumstances.

    - Lindsay Smith, author of Sekret, A Darkly Beating Heart, and Serial Box’s The Witch Who Came in From the Cold

  • An absorbing blend of historical fiction, mystery, and magical realism.

    - Kirkus Reviews

  • Locke’s deft twist on one of history’s sharper edges blends magic and sci-fi for a gripping, heart wrenching read.

    - EK Johnston, author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear

  • A bold, unique fantasy that manages to be both timely and timeless. Katherine Locke has powerful things to say about how the past and present shape each other and the future, and about the magic of the human spirit.

    - Gwenda Bond, author of Lois Lane: Fallout and Girl on a Wire

  • This sophisticated, unusual work is likely to appeal to fans of World War II and Holocaust fiction, as well as those who like their history with a tinge of romance and magic.

    - School Library Journal

  • Readers will find an enticing, intriguing new novel. This is a clever concept—what if luftballons were magical time-traveling devices?—and Locke fills in the blanks with questions about history and life and love. This is a must for any historical fiction collection.

    - Booklist

  • A thought-provoking look at modern German history through a lens of magic and time travel.

    - Foreword Reviews

  • The first title in a promising series, this is an engaging story that would entice the most reluctant of readers to keep on reading.

    - School Library Connections

  • Part mystery, part historical fiction, part science fiction/fantasy, [an] engaging and entertaining story

    - Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews

Awards & Accolades

  • 2018 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for Teen Readers
  • 2018 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 13.0
  • ATOS Level: 5.0