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Ravs & Reviews

“Jenny and Cole can't stand each other. But when these siblings find themselves trapped in a runaway hot air balloon, they're forced to face their bitterness. This story of fear, faith, and forgiveness will not only capture your attention but will also captivate your heart.

Marianne Hering

co-creator of Adventures in Odyssey Imagination Station book series

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In his novel, Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon, Mark Wainwright tackles a bundle of difficult topics that children often experience—grief, bitterness, anger. Teaching these topics from a biblical perspective instructs children to healthily address these emotional and spiritual challenges rather than stifling them and carrying them into adulthood.


Wainwright masterfully propels the story forward using cliffhanger chapter endings and nonconsecutive storytelling.


Far from condescending to his young audience, Wainwright incorporates advanced vocabulary words and vivid descriptions that will make readers feel they are in a careening hot air balloon thousands of feet from earth.

Sarah Eshleman

Editor in Chief, Answers Magazine

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“I like this book because it teaches you to be courageous and to face your fears.

–Madison Hayenga, 5th grader

St. Petersburg, Florida

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Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is a riveting story about two siblings who encounter more of an adventure than they bargained for. After a hot air balloon mishap launches them into the sky, Jenny and Cole must work together and face their fears and differences to survive.


Mark Wainwright's story vividly illustrates for kids the consequences of pride. Our family enjoyed the colorful descriptions that Mark weaves throughout his storytelling. He spares no detail when describing Jenny and Cole's strong emotions and honest inner thoughts.


The story also explores how God uses experiences, hardships, and mistakes to bring people to repentance and faith in His son Jesus. Many kids will identify with the siblings' struggles. Most importantly, Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon powerfully shares that kids can trust God in all things. Despite the danger and past hard experiences, Jenny and Cole learn that God is their faithful example, protector, and healer.


Overall, Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is a great story for kids who like action and who are growing in their own faith.

Katie Wallace

founder of Create. Play. Travel.

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“Siblings Jenny and Cole find themselves trapped in a soaring balloon where they must face their fears and address the root cause of the strife between them. I appreciate how Wainwright weaved together an action-packed story with a timeless lesson about faith and forgiveness. The writing was so authentic that I found myself in tears over Jenny's heartache and grateful for the clear biblical response presented to the pain of loss and the danger of bitterness. Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is an entertaining and valuable story, and I highly recommend it.

–Kristen Hogrefe Parnell

award-winning author of 6 books

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“I love that this book teaches lessons but is still full of adventure.”

–Amanda Hyslop, 8th grader

Brighton, Michigan

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“Up, up, and away! Jenny and Cole's suspenseful balloon adventure had me glued to each page. Mark Wainwright's debut novel reveals an author who is skilled at plotting and drawing interesting characters. And there's far more to the story than a dangerous balloon ride. The tale explores real-world issues: anger, bitterness, loss, and trust in a Creator who always does what is best, even though we may not understand. Highly recommended!”

–Adam Blumer

author of 5 books

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Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is a wild ride and a glorious read! Author Mark Wainwright weaves believable characters with epic adventures in a story that has a firm foundation in God's truth. Truly a marvelous book! I've already ordered several copies to give to the kids in my life.

Edie Melson

award-winning author of 11 books

Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

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Loved this book! I learned a lot about hot air balloons, but I especially appreciated the character lessons of love, loss, and forgiveness! Excellent, exciting read!

Dan Faulkner

director, Camp Elim

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I don’t know what I thought I would discover when I picked up Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon, but I was pleasantly surprised! I found relatable characters, a suspenseful plot, and worthwhile lessons that would benefit all readers. This Christian fiction story proves that modern is not equal to secular, and it will certainly guide the youth of today in overcoming life’s difficulties through the lens of Scripture.

Katie Green

5th grade teacher

Pensacola Christian Academy

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“This captivating story powerfully illustrates the miserable bondage of bitterness and the joy of forgiveness. It is a sweet reminder of how precious sibling relationships can be when we follow God's ways! I heartily recommend this novel as a great family read-aloud.

–Sarah Mally Hancock

founder of Bright Lights ministry

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Flying in a hot air balloon? What fun! Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is a great story to read aloud or for older kids to read on their own. Five stars.

–Deb Haggerty

book reviewer at Positive Grace

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Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon is full of universally raw emotions relatable for both children and adults. Mark does a fantastic job weaving suspense and leaving you hanging at the end of each chapter. It's far too easy to tell yourself, "Just one more," and before you know it, you're trappped in a brilliant read.

–Jenneth Dyck

Washington D.C.

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As a Christian, educator, and mom of three kids, I'm always on the look-out for good, Christian children’s books. I recommend Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon for your middle school children. They will learn the importance of offering forgiveness, growing faith, and overcoming fears. Your children will be captivated as they read each chapter!

–Tania Young

Pensacola, Florida

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“A really awesome story.”

–Chase Abrams, 6th grader

Franklin, Tennessee

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“A clever tale with lessons about sibling rivalry, salvation, and some education about hot air balloons along the way. Though the adventure is exciting, the well-developed characters are what I found most enjoyable.

–Tony Myers

author of 7 books

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“Wow, Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon captured my attention by remaining applicable in the midst of a high-action story. The lessons went beyond the stereotypical methods of teaching forgiveness and family values.”

–Nathan Carlson

Williams, Arizona

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“One of the reasons the story’s characters came alive was the author did such a good job sharing their metacognition—the thinking going on in their heads—which made them likable and awful, depending on the moment. But this also brought their spiritual lives out and helped the reader process how the Lord is with those who believe.”

–Sarah Poling

blogger and book reviewer

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“It kept me very interested and was hard to put down. I liked all the descriptive details. They painted pictures for my imagination.”

–Victoria Prickett, 8th grader

Pensacola, Florida

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“What an enjoyable read! Jenny's pain was so real, so vivid, that it brought me to tears! But the lessons taught through her pain and conflict with Cole are absolutely invaluable. Definitely recommended for anyone, regardless of age, who wants a fun and thoughtful book to read.”

–Elizabeth Wolfram

Bentonville, Arkansas

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“Adventurous and thrilling. The story had me on the edge of my seat!”

–Roman Gardner, 7th grader

Lexington, South Carolina

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Media Posts . . .

Pensacola Christian Academy, Author Chat — Pensacola, FL, September 2023

Around 120 sixth graders gathered for a Q & A session with Mark, followed by him reading Chapter 1 of Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon. Check out these Author Visit pictures.

Auburn Baptist Christian Academy, Author Chat — Riner, VA, March 2023

In this recorded online author chat, 6th grade students asked Mark fun and curious questions about writing stories.

Greenville Christian Academy, Author Chat — Greenville, NC, October 2022

What do you do if you have writer's block? During two Zoom meetings, Mark answered this question and many others while talking about the writing process.

Raleigh Christian Academy, Author Chat — Raleigh, NC, October 2022

Sixth-grade students asked Mark a variety of questions related to his writing of Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon. Mark also emphasized the importance of editing and revision.

Bill Rice Christian Academy, Author Chat — Murfreesboro, TN, October 2022

During this Zoom meeting, Mark shared with students what inspires him to write. He also shared why using our words for the glory of God is so important.

Northland Christian School, Author Chat — Flagstaff, AZ, October 2022

Having just finished reading Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon, 6th grade students asked Mark a variety of writing-related questions.

Pensacola Christian Academy, Author Chat — Pensacola, FL, September 2022

Around 120 sixth graders gathered for a Q & A session with Mark, followed by him reading Chapter 1 of Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon. Check out these Author Visit pictures.

Video Class — Pensacola, FL, September 2022

To help launch Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon for Abekas sixth grade video class, Mark participated in a recorded Q & A session.

2022 Directors’ Choice Awards Finalist — April 2022

The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference announced Trapped in a Hot Air Ballon as a finalist for the 2022 Directors Choice Awards in the Children/Young Adult category. Check it out.

Author Interview — October 2021

Kristen Hogrefe Parnell, award-winning author of 6 books, interviewed Mark for her blog. They talked about sibling strife, the power of forgiveness, and much more. Check it out.

Newsletter Announcement — October 2021

Adam Blumer, author of 5 books including Termination Zone and Kill Order, featured Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon in his October newsletter.

Blog Review — September 2021

Sarah Poling, blogger at Whispering the Word, focused her review on the dynamic characters found in Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon. Check it out.

Book Review — August 2021

Deb Haggerty, book reviewer at Positive Grace, wrote an excellent review of Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon. Check it out.

Release Announcement — August 2021

"The Loom," a monthly newsletter from the Word Weavers association, provided a new release announcement for Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon.

Book Presentation — Indianola, Iowa, July 2021

Becky Wigeland, curator at the National Balloon Museum, gratefully accepted a signed copy of Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon from Mark for the museum's library. 

Author Interview — July 2021

Tricia Goyer, award-winning author of over 75 books, interviewed Mark for her "Writer's Desk" blog. Mark and Tricia chatted about topics ranging from outlining to writer's block. Check it out.

Author Interview — July 2021

Deena Adams interviewed Mark on her "Hope-filled Fiction" blog. The interview focused on themes of faith and forgiveness found in Mark's novel. Check it out.

Fiction Finder — June 2021

The Fiction Finder website released information about Mark's novel Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon.

Family Fiction — June 2021

FamilyFiction featured Trapped in a Hot Air Balloon as a new release in their magazine and on their website.

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