100 books like King of All Balloons

By Mark Davies,

Here are 100 books that King of All Balloons fans have personally recommended if you like King of All Balloons. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hunting of the Shark: The Story Behind the Tale That Crash Landed on an Unsuspecting Oxford Suburban Street

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on Oxford and where town meets gown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a freelance writer for The Oxford Times for 20 years when it was well respected. For ten of those years, I wrote the Oxford Castaway series in which I cast away inspirational people from 5 continents whose lives have been affected by their time in the city. Even Lord Chris Pattern of Barnes – the Chancellor of Oxford University and former Governor of Hong Kong let me cast him away on Oxtopia! Oxford is still divided between Town and Gown but I stride the two and my husband was an academic at that other Oxford University: Oxford Brookes.

Sylvia's book list on Oxford and where town meets gown

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

The artist John Buckley made this shark to go into the roof of American Bill Heine’s terraced house. I cast both of them away on my mythical island of Oxtopia. They explained that their aim was to feel shock and awe falling from the sky. When American warplanes were leaving nearby Heyford to drop bombs on Libya, they asked what it would feel like to have your domestic world penetrated out of the blue. Not everyone liked the shark and Bill had a six-year battle against bureaucracy. This book tells that story. It is now a TOWN icon but for me, it has both personal and international significance.

By Bill Heine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hunting of the Shark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1986 and American jets take off near Oxford to bomb Tripoli and take out Gaddafi . . . meanwhile another missile has crashed through the shattered tiles of a quiet Oxford suburban home. This is a true story. Dive into this book which celebrates the 25th anniversary of one of England s quirkiest icons. The Hunting of the Shark spills the guts for the very first time on how this bizarre 25-foot fibreglass sculpture was conceived, constructed, erected and kept up on the roof against the full blast of Oxford City bureaucracy. Told by Bill Heine who commissioned its…


Book cover of The Midnight Press: And other Oxford Stories

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on Oxford and where town meets gown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a freelance writer for The Oxford Times for 20 years when it was well respected. For ten of those years, I wrote the Oxford Castaway series in which I cast away inspirational people from 5 continents whose lives have been affected by their time in the city. Even Lord Chris Pattern of Barnes – the Chancellor of Oxford University and former Governor of Hong Kong let me cast him away on Oxtopia! Oxford is still divided between Town and Gown but I stride the two and my husband was an academic at that other Oxford University: Oxford Brookes.

Sylvia's book list on Oxford and where town meets gown

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

For me, Oxford is the Hollywood of stories and indeed it is now home to The Story Museum. One of the stars of Oxford storytelling was Colin Dexter, whose Inspector Morse novels have spawned three TV series. He was the patron of the Oxford Writers Group and recommended this anthology. It includes stories from Town, Gown, and County so it is a good holiday read while in Oxford or dreaming of the city.

By Oxpens Writer's Group,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Midnight Press as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fourth collection of tales from the OxPens writers with intrigues set in Oxford coffee shops, colleges, the old Jewish Quarter and at Henley Regatta. Experience the escape from the castle, strange happenings on Platform 3 and discover who the chocolate people were.


Book cover of The Princess Who Hid in a Tree: An Anglo-Saxon Story

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on Oxford and where town meets gown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a freelance writer for The Oxford Times for 20 years when it was well respected. For ten of those years, I wrote the Oxford Castaway series in which I cast away inspirational people from 5 continents whose lives have been affected by their time in the city. Even Lord Chris Pattern of Barnes – the Chancellor of Oxford University and former Governor of Hong Kong let me cast him away on Oxtopia! Oxford is still divided between Town and Gown but I stride the two and my husband was an academic at that other Oxford University: Oxford Brookes.

Sylvia's book list on Oxford and where town meets gown

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

This is the story of Frideswide and the creation of Oxford as a place of learning told for young children. Our grandchildren are weaned on superheroes and I would like them to know the stories of heroes and heroines from the past as well.

By Jackie Holderness, Alan Marks (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Princess Who Hid in a Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

This story is about a brave and kind Anglo-Saxon princess called Frideswide who lived in Oxford a long time ago and just happened to be brilliant at climbing very tall trees. Her talent came in useful one day when a wicked king tried to kidnap her. How did she and her friends escape, and what happened to the king and his soldiers?

With stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Alan Marks, Saint Frideswide's legend is retold for young children as a tale of adventure, courage in the face of danger, friendship, and kindness, with a few surprises along the way.

The…


Book cover of Tower of the Winds: Works on Paper

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Sculpting the Elephant

From my list on Oxford and where town meets gown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a freelance writer for The Oxford Times for 20 years when it was well respected. For ten of those years, I wrote the Oxford Castaway series in which I cast away inspirational people from 5 continents whose lives have been affected by their time in the city. Even Lord Chris Pattern of Barnes – the Chancellor of Oxford University and former Governor of Hong Kong let me cast him away on Oxtopia! Oxford is still divided between Town and Gown but I stride the two and my husband was an academic at that other Oxford University: Oxford Brookes.

Sylvia's book list on Oxford and where town meets gown

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

Weimin was the university's artist-in-residence recording the restoration of the C18th Observatory and Radcliffe hospital, the bulldozing of the site, and the building of the Maths Institute and Blavatnik School of Government near Jericho. This historic collection of art evokes past, present, and future, and Town and Gown. The artist comes from Manchuria so to me, it represents Oxford as an international city.

This book is only available from the author, email Weimin He for a signed copy for £20 plus postage. 

By Weimin He,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tower of the Winds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Balloonomania Belles: Daredevil Divas Who First Took to the Sky

Deborah Noyes Author Of Lady Icarus: Balloonmania and the Brief, Bold Life of Sophie Blanchard

From my list on being lighter than air and above it all.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid student of curious social history, I’ve wanted to tell the story of early flight for a while. A friend once took me up in a hot-air balloon for my birthday, and I’ve been a balloonomaniac ever since. I’ll never forget the awe I felt that morning in Vermont—the sensation of drifting softly above it all, passing spirit-like through orange-pink clouds just after sunrise with the muffled bark of a distant dog the only sound for miles. It was, to quote Sophie Blanchard, a “sensation incomparable.” 

Deborah's book list on being lighter than air and above it all

Deborah Noyes Why did Deborah love this book?

Also a bit gossipy or wink-wink in tone, Wright’s feminist take on early flight is good fun. She narrates the hair-raising adventures of female pioneers of balloon flight—from feisty French teenager Elisabeth Thible, the first woman in the air, to charismatic British actress Leticia Ann Sage, whom one newspaper credited with “that manly fortitude which constitutes the heroine.” Wright presents a memorable cast of women who were all willing and well able—whether for a day or for decades—to brave life in the upper stories. She narrates, too, how they did it despite danger and scandal, at a time when women had few options or outlets for challenging themselves personally or professionally.

By Sharon Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Balloonomania Belles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_Balloonomania Belles_ reveals the astonishing stories of the fabulous female pioneers of balloon flight. More than a century before the first aeroplane women were heading for the heavens in crazy, inspired contraptions that could bring death or glory and all too often, both. Award-winning journalist Sharon Wright reveals their hair-raising adventures in a book that brings the stories of the feisty female ballooning heroines together for the first time. Women were in the vanguard of the Balloonomania craze that took hold in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and swept across Europe then the world. Their exploits were a vital element…


Book cover of The Land of Yesterday

Ellen Mulholland Author Of This Girl Climbs Trees

From my list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with life and death. As a child, my own life was fairly mundane and even joyful. However, I went through loss like most. We lost two dogs when I was maybe seven or nine. Then my beagle Suzy, who we had the longest, was struck by a car on a rainy day. A few years later, my grandfather passed from cancer. Watching my mother grieve stuck with me. It shaped me—how I cared about life, how I longed to understand it. Once I decided to write stories for children, I knew it could be a safe place to explore my hidden feelings.

Ellen's book list on middle grade dealing with death, dying, and grief

Ellen Mulholland Why did Ellen love this book?

How do you recover from believing you caused your brother’s death? Cecelia has no idea. When Celadon’s soul drifts into the Land of Yesterday, their entire house goes into mourning. Cecelia must reconcile her feelings before her world collapses and she ends up a lost soul forever, too. Reynolds expertly handles loss and regret in this magical tale for middle grade readers and up.

By K.A. Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Land of Yesterday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A tender and fantastical adventure story perfect for fans of Coraline.

After Cecelia Dahl’s little brother, Celadon, dies tragically, his soul goes where all souls go: the Land of Yesterday—and Cecelia is left behind in a fractured world without him.

Her beloved house’s spirit is crumbling beyond repair, her father is imprisoned by sorrow, and worst of all, her grief-stricken mother abandons the land of the living to follow Celadon into Yesterday.

It’s up to Cecelia to put her family back together, even if that means venturing into the dark and forbidden Land of Yesterday on her own. But as…


Book cover of The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck

Deborah Noyes Author Of Lady Icarus: Balloonmania and the Brief, Bold Life of Sophie Blanchard

From my list on being lighter than air and above it all.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an avid student of curious social history, I’ve wanted to tell the story of early flight for a while. A friend once took me up in a hot-air balloon for my birthday, and I’ve been a balloonomaniac ever since. I’ll never forget the awe I felt that morning in Vermont—the sensation of drifting softly above it all, passing spirit-like through orange-pink clouds just after sunrise with the muffled bark of a distant dog the only sound for miles. It was, to quote Sophie Blanchard, a “sensation incomparable.” 

Deborah's book list on being lighter than air and above it all

Deborah Noyes Why did Deborah love this book?

Now for something completely different. My own book is for middle-grade readers, so I wanted to include another younger title, and it was perfect timing that this rollicking adventure crossed my path when it did. Hilariously droll, Phelan’s illustrated fiction stars characters lauded for their pivotal role in early flight—the three barnyard aeronauts who made the very first ascent in a hot-air balloon. But their career didn’t end there: the sheep, the rooster, and the duck went on to battle injustice, defeat dastardly villains, and expose nefarious plots against society. Phelan’s extraordinary farm animals are more than fearless aeronauts: they’re covert superheroes in a world of sinister secret societies, Benjamin Franklin, and the world’s first heat-ray. High-flying fun!

By Matt Phelan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“A grand, giddy, and, at times, literally soaring tale.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An amusing, fast-paced tale of land, sky, and spies.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Incredibly creative. . . . A little bit of history, a touch of mystery, and heaps of fun.”—Booklist (starred review)

A Publishers Weekly Best Book

Wherever there is injustice, nefarious plots, or threats to society, the Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck are there to stop them!

A sly villain with a plan to cause havoc across the globe is no match for three extraordinary animals—and their two young human friends. From acclaimed author and artist…


Book cover of One to Watch

Barbara Boehm Miller Author Of When You See Her

From my list on plus-sized protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being overweight presents an intriguing paradox: being physically large and hard to miss, but also being essentially invisible and easy to ignore. Having struggled with weight for my entire life, I’m very familiar with this juxtaposition of opposites. I wanted to write a novel with a plus-sized protagonist set in a different time, the late 1970s in this case, before the notions of size positivity and body diversity had come to life in society’s collective imagination. For me, this was a way of making fat people more visible in books, especially as main characters. I put together this list of books for the same reason. 

Barbara's book list on plus-sized protagonists

Barbara Boehm Miller Why did Barbara love this book?

Bea Schumacher is a plus-sized fashion blogger and outspoken critic of the lack of diverse body types in the media and on the reality dating show, Main Squeeze, in particular.

When she is asked to star on the show and pick the man she wishes to marry, Bea agrees, excited about what this might mean for her career and her love life. 

This book gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at reality television and provides a satisfying answer to what is real and what is staged. I loved how the plot of Main Squeeze and the novel formed co-centric rings and how Bea learns to recognize and use her power in both these arenas.

While romance and insights abound, they are also tempered by laugh-out-loud humor, making this read both enjoyable and thought-provoking.

By Kate Stayman-London,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One to Watch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Real love . . . as seen on TV. A plus-size bachelorette brings a fresh look to a reality show in this razor-sharp, “divinely witty” (Entertainment Weekly) debut.

“Effortlessly fun and clever . . . I found the tension impeccable . . . and that made my reading experience incredibly propulsive. Read it in a day and a half.”—Emily Henry, #1 bestselling author of Beach Read and The People We Meet on Vacation

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • NPR • Marie Claire • Mashable

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish…


Book cover of From Above: The Story of Aerial Photography

Jeffrey Milstein Author Of London from the Air

From my list on aerial photography books.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young, my passions were flying and art. I became a pilot at age 17. Later, I became an architect, and much later, in 2000, I decided to become a fine art photographer. After ten years of shooting from the ground, I decided to take to the air again and began shooting aerial photographs, primarily of cities. I now have three aerial books published: LA NY, Thames & Hudson, Paris From the Air, Rizzoli, and London From the Air, Rizzoli. My aerial photographs are exhibited and collected throughout the world.

Jeffrey's book list on aerial photography books

Jeffrey Milstein Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I like this book because it is a large format, beautifully printed book illustrating the history of aerial photography.

It begins with the earliest Nadar photos taken in France from hot air balloons and chronologically goes through all the different kinds of aerial photography, including satellite images and iconic photographers who shot aerials. It explains the various techniques and ends with photographers who use more recent drone technology.

It exposed me to much history I did not know. 

By Gemma Padley, Eamonn McCabe (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Above as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since the birth of photography, photographers have been taking images of the earth from the air - with spectacular visual results. Celebrating over 150 years of these incredible images, this book tells the fascinating story of how these pictures were created and the photographers that have propelled image-taking to bold new heights.

Taking advantage of the amazing sense of perspective that aerial photography offers, this incredible collection of images also offers a unique overview of the events, challenges, and changes of the past 150 years of human history.


Book cover of Around the World in Eighty Days

Gary Orleck Author Of Travels With Maurice: An Outrageous Adventure in Europe, 1968

From my list on life and it's changes – the what, where, and why.

Why am I passionate about this?

At 13 years old I told my father that “I will be travelling around the USA as soon as I graduate college." It took 10 days to prepare but prepare and depart I did. I worked my way around the USA for 6 months and on the way home I told my Dad, “Next is Europe.” A year later I traveled with the son of the richest man in the world and the adventures we had driving 19,865 miles through 12 European countries for 10 weeks were both mind-blowing and life-changing. My passion for traveling and life shows throughout my book, and I assure you that you'll enjoy travelling along with me. 

Gary's book list on life and it's changes – the what, where, and why

Gary Orleck Why did Gary love this book?

After you remind yourself that this story is taking place in 1872, you can just sit back and have fun with it as you will come to see that it is a very clever story and true to the time period it is set in.

I advise that you should let your mind wander, and you will very easily fall in love with the well-defined characters and the suspense of the story. Have we not all raced against time in our own lifetime? It is a really fun read, especially if you use your imagination to join in, and that is why I believe that everybody should read this classic story at least once in their lifetime.

By Jules Verne,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Around the World in Eighty Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some novels are considered classics of children literature, read by numerous generations of young readers who made them immortal. That is the case with Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, a true prototype for many later adventure tales. The thrilling race against time of eccentric Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passepartout, having to run around the planet to win a bet, is here presented in a modern and original way, thanks to the splendid drawings by Francesca Rossi, an artist able to capture the vivid atmosphere of the story.


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