Join the worldwide book club, reading The Girl with the Red Balloon ebook by Katherine Locke. 1- 15 October 2018.

Thousands of of readers from around the world will be downloading and reading the same ebook at the same time during October. More than 19,000 libraries and schools around the world are participating.

The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the story of sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum who accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin and becomes 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.

This is the first time a young adult novel has been the Big Library Read feature book, but if you are older than ‘young adult’, don’t let the YA label stop you participating.  Definitely check it out if you are a fantasy or historical fiction fan, or if you just want to read something new.

Grab your library card, install the Libby app, read the book*, then connect to the online discussion with the hastag #BigLibraryRead
*ebook only available to download 1-15 October 2018

This idea [for the The Girl with the Red Balloon] came to me when I was listening to the song “99 Red Balloons” on the radio and suddenly I had a mental image of a girl going over a wall holding onto a red balloon. I immediately thought, “Oh, that’s interesting. What wall? Where’s she going? Why a balloon?” And when I sat down at my computer a few minutes later, I started writing.

Additionally, both of my grandfathers passed away about two years before I began writing this book and I found that I began writing to and about them as well. One of my grandfathers helped liberate the Dachau sub-camps, and both of my grandfathers loved reading and telling stories. My desire to write about a Jewish-American girl and her relationship to her grandfather worked its way into the magical historical thriller I wrote because of that image in my head and the song on the radio.

Katherine Locke

Big Library Read is facilitated by OverDrive, one of the several ebook platforms the library provides for library membersThe Girl with the Red Balloon was chosen as the latest Big Library Read title by a popular vote of readers and librarians.

Get a head start by reading Chapter One now:

The song that inspired the idea of the book

Original German language version and the English language version