The Red Balloon was one of my all time favorite books as a child. The story is of a young boy who discovers a stray red balloon which seems to have a mind of its own on the streets of Paris. The two become inseparable, yet the worlds harsh realities finally interfere. After the book became a huge success world-wide, the French author, Albert Lamorisse, wrote and directed the movie, Le Ballon Rouge, which came out in 1956.
It's a simple story but an incredibly magical and beautiful book and film. To this day, balloons continue to hold a special place in my heart!