The Balloon Boy of San Francisco

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, or tracking down a missing gold miner. But when he crosses the bay to watch the ascension of the first balloon brought to California, his adventures suddenly take an unexpected turn.

Based on a true story and extensive research by the author, this book paints a colorful, evocative and accurate picture of daily life in San Francisco five years after the discovery of gold. It’s drawn from newspapers, letters, diaries and many other historical documents.


“...brings the past to vibrant life, recreating history and setting with such detail it’s the next best thing to stepping into a time machine.”
~Midwest Book Review


128 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", full-color cover, one map, 2005.Published by Tomato Enterprises. ISBN 0-9617357-9-1 trade paper

$9.95

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“...a detailed account of young Ready Gates fantastic voyage . . . paint[s] a fascinating portrait of everyday life in the bustling Bay Area just five years after the discovery of gold in the nearby Sierra.”
~San Francisco Examiner

“With it’s colorful details, this book brings Gold Rush history to life, touching on dangers such as sinking ships, burning buildings and kidnappings, and lively characters such as stowaway newsboys, questionable fortune-tellers, traveling picture-takers and, of course, all kinds of gold-seekers.”
~Washington Post Kids Book of the Week, December 5, 2004

“The history of San Francisco during those rambunctious golden years of the early 1850s comes to life through the 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√í√íthe death-defying first-ever balloon flight. All ages will enjoy following the adventures of this amazing ’balloon boy’.”
~Gary Kurutz, Director of Special Collections, California State Library

“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 of They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush



Indian Summer Sale

The entire Bored Feet store is on sale! You just need to buy a book* to participate.

Indian summer is that chance to claim a window of late summer/early autumn great weather to extend the sweetest part of the year and double your fun. But you never know how long it will last!

So it is with Bored Feet’s Indian Summer sale! It’s on now, and you never know when it might end. So seize the moment to save on all our great books, maps, playing cards and calendars.

There is a small catch:
*You must buy one book with a retail price of $15.95 or more. Then you can take 10% off your entire order. Or buy two books of at least that price and get 15% off your entire order!#

You can start with the fourteen featured books pictured on the Home Page of our website. These are some of our newest, favorite, and greatest titles.

Books and Maps on Related Topics:

Two Peoples, One Place by Ray Raphael & Freeman House

Sierra Stories; Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues by Gary Noy

Trails and Tales of Yosemite and the Central Sierra—A Guide for Hikers and History Buffs by Sharon Giacomazzi

Gold Fever: San Francisco 1851 by Ken Salter

On the Road with Mark Twain in California and Nevada by George J. Williams III

The Donner Party: Weathering the Storm by Mark McLaughlin

Mark Twain and the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by George J. Williams III

Mark Twain: His Life in Virginia City, Nevada by George J. Williams III

Rosa May; The Search for a Mining Camp Legend by George Williams III

A Fair Distance; Lois Boblett's Western Memoir, 1851-1922 by L. Darlene Spargo


Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area by Judith Adamson

San Francisco: Intellect and Passion by Ken Auster

Trails of Mt. Tamalpais, Muir Woods and Marin Headlands by Ben Pease

Bay Area Trail Map: Carquinez Strait and Berkeley Hills by Redwood Hikes Press

Great Day Hikes in and around Napa Valley, Third Edition by Ken Stanton

The Walker’s Map of San Francisco by Ben Pease

Bay Area Trail Map: Oakland Hills and Pleasanton Ridge by Redwood Hikes Press

California Road Trip; A Climber's Guide Northern California by Tom Slater and Chris Summit

Big Basin Redwoods State Park Annotated Trail Map by Redwood Hikes Press


The Essential Geography of the United States of America by Imus Geographics

Humboldt Rocks; How They Got Here, What They Are, How to Find Them by Meryl King, Illustrated by Lance Anderson

What Is a Feeling? by Etan Boritzer, Illustrated by Jeff Vernon

What Is a Friend? by by Etan Boritzer, Illustrated by Jeff Vernon

A Knife and a Fork and a Bottle and a Cork... by Howard Schrager; Illustrated by Sarah Madsen

When You See Flukes by by Katherine Hocker and Cheryl Cook
Illustrations by Katherine Hocker






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