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

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

Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
5 - 8
Reading age
Page count
Words per page
Lexile measure
Mar 3, 2020
Publication date

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What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

A moving true story of a family’s brave escape from East Berlin by hot air balloon.

When a family member smuggles them a newspaper clipping of a hot air balloon, the Wetzel family, who live in East Berlin in 1979, are inspired to escape to West Berlin by hot air balloon. They sneak extra nylon and fuel whenever possible to avoid alerting the Stasi. Young Peter knows of his parents’ daring plan but is sworn to secrecy until one night, he is awoken in the middle of the night and the family drives to a secluded field to make their dangerous attempt. As Stasi police cars pull into the meadow, Peter is instructed by his dad to cut the balloon free. The family flies for only 30 minutes before they run out of fuel and their balloon crashes down. Unsure whether they’ve succeeded in crossing the Berlin Wall, they hide in the forest until a passing car confirms they’ve escaped to West Berlin. Fulton’s masterful historical writing—based on interviews with the Wetzel family—is engaging and fitting of the moving and inspiring true story. Her narrative succinctly provides an educational historical context that accentuates the drama of the Wetzel family’s escape. Kuhlmann’s illustrations are praiseworthy, with a realism and heaviness that match the gravity of the situation and all that is at risk for the Wetzel family. Some fascinating additional details of the story are included in notes at the end.

What Kind of Book is Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany




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Book Details

Publication Date
March 3, 2020
Chronicle Books LLC
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
5 - 8 years
Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Quiz
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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