The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure

When our children, Holly and Sam, were growing up, Joan and I loved nothing more than reading them a bedtime story before they fell asleep. Now I am a proud grand-dude to three beautiful grandchildren, I’m excited to share all of my favourite childhood books with them.

From Where The Wild Things Are to Swallows and Amazons, I love children’s books about adventure and escapades, magical worlds and the power of friendship. I would often add my own tales too, ones I learned from my parents, or made up on the spot. Now, there may be some new stories to add to my list. 

Like me, Stephen Holmes loves to make up bedtime stories for his children. One story, about a hot air balloon and an owl, quickly caught his daughters’ imagination. Seven-year-old Madison and five-year-old Ella would beg him to tell it every night. Then Madison suggested her dad turn his story into a book to sell locally. After Stephen found a talented online illustrator, Kev Payne, The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure became reality.

500 copies disappeared as quickly as they were printed, and Stephen decided to reach out to the team at Virgin Atlantic. Quite rightly, he had an inkling yours truly would enjoy a book about a ballooning adventure! What’s more, we learned that Stephen and his family are based in Haywards Heath, just around the corner from our airline’s headquarters. The team told me about it. My first thought? The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure – now that rings a bell!

One day later, the Virgin Atlantic team ordered 2000 copies – we are now giving away The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure to children on selected night flights. As well as a great way to entertain children on flights, it’s a lovely way to support local talent, celebrate the art of storytelling, and the joy of ballooning and nature.

I can’t wait to see what Stephen comes up with next - I hear he is testing out new stories with his children now. Hopefully Joan and I can read these to Etta, Artie and Eva-Deia one day soon. Head over to the website if you want to pick up The Great Hot Air Balloon Adventure. In the meantime, have you got a favourite story you love to read to your children or grandchildren?

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