Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany

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A bright, rainbow colored balloon, taller than 3 houses, rises through the trees and into the night sky.  It is carrying two families hoping to fly across the harsh wall that divides East Germany from West Germany.  Will they make it? 

This amazing true story is told through the eyes of 6-year old Peter, who knows a secret plan is brewing, but is sworn to silence by his parents.  So how do you keep a gigantic hot-air balloon hidden? 

Filled with suspense, the book’s mood is captured in dark, nighttime scenes of secrecy punctuated by candlelight, headlights, spotlights, and the enormous, fire-driven balloon. 

The author includes interesting details in the back about how the balloon was constructed and the escape planned, as well as background information about Germany during the Cold War.  For lovers of adventure, real-life drama, and feats of engineering.---from the publisher

56 pages                    978-1452149608                   Ages 5-8

Keywords:  Berlin Wall, escape, family, secrets, hot air balloon, narrative nonfiction, 5 year old, 6 year old, 6 year old, 8 year old, courage, Europe, history

Recommended by:  Jean Boone, Librarian, Maryland USA


An Inspiring True Story about One Family's Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn't free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won't always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany • Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history. • Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family's escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children MarchThe WallGrowing Up Behind the Iron CurtainArmstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.---from the publisher

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