Book Cover

The Balloon Boy of San Francisco
by Dorothy Kupcha Leland
In 1853, San Francisco newsboy Ready Gates lives up to his nickname. He's ready for anything--whether it's shouting the latest headlines from a street corner, sneaking onto a river boat to avoid paying the fare, or tracking down a missing gold miner. But when he crosses the bay to watch the ascension of the first balloon ever brought to California, his adventures suddenly take an unexpected turn.

Based on a true story, this book paints a colorful picture of daily life in San Francisco five years after the discovery of gold in California. It's drawn from contemporary newspapers, letters, diaries and many other historical documents.

Hardcover, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 128 pp. ISBN 0-9617357-4-0 $16.95
Paper, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", 128 pp. ISBN 0-9617357-9-1 $9.95
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"Smart, lively writing and colorful dialogue."
The Sacramento Bee
The history of San Francisco during those rambunctious golden years of the early 1850s comes to life through the youthful eyes of pioneer aeronaut Ready Gates. Historian and novelist Dorothy Leland weaves a story based on solid research that features ship wrecks, fires, gold seeking, a street preacher, fortuneteller, daguerreian artist and the spellbinding performances of Lola Montez all topped off by one of the most improbable events in California history--the death-defying, first-ever balloon flight. All ages will enjoy following the adventures of this amazing "balloon boy."
Gary F. Kurutz, Director of Special Collections, California State Library
A delightful read for children and adults alike….Ms. Leland combines solid research on San Francisco’s Gold Rush era with the charming story of Ready Gates and his new life in this city to which he and his family have come to seek their fortune.
Charles A. Fracchia, President, San Francisco Museum and Historical Society
Colorful and accurate details bring to life California's fascinating gold-rush era in this captivating tale of a hardworking newspaper boy's excellent adventure.
JoAnn Levy, Author, They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush