Today is Balloons Around the World Day! The first rubber balloons were invented in 1824. Professor Michael Faraday used them for experiments with hydrogen at the Royal Institution in London. Today, millions of balloons are manufactured daily in a number of different locations around the world. Balloons feature in many children's books and these picture books are in my library and well-worth a look:
• Balloonia by Audrey Wood. This would be my all-time favourite, not because of the illustrations, but because of the idea that it explains to children where balloons go when they let them go ... off to Balloonia and this is a perfect explanation for the age group that I teach.
• The Blue Balloon by Mick Inkpen. This is the original Kipper story!
• You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Weitzman and Robin Preiss-Glasser. Like Balloonia this textless book is also novel in its idea.
• The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gillman. This story about Princess Leora has good themes.
• A Balloon for Grandad by Nigel Gray and Jane Ray. Some may feel that this story is farfetched when they see where Sam's errant balloon travels, but the illustrations are beautiful and exotic and there is plenty to discuss.
• Cat Balloon by Palo Morgan is a story told in verse of one cat's perseverance while the other animals laze around.
• The Yellow Balloon by Charlotte Dematons, was originally published in the Netherlands, is textless and is a bit like a Where's Wally? type puzzle book because there is so much happening on every page and so much to talk about as the reader follows the yellow balloon acrosss the pages.
• The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse. This classic, set in Paris tells the story of a small boy and his best friend, a red balloon.
• The Purple Balloon by Chris Raschka. This is a very special book and not one you would put out as part of a 'balloon' display as this is a serious book about death. It is crafted for the terminally ill or grieving child. There is a section in the book explaining how to use it and what is the significance of the balloon.