Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber

Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber

Book rating: 05 Mixed media product

By (author) Tom Brokaw, Illustrated by Robert T Barrett

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  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain
  • Format: Mixed media product | 32 pages
  • Dimensions: 239mm x 282mm x 13mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 4 November 2013
  • ISBN 10: 1609077008
  • ISBN 13: 9781609077006
  • Illustrations note: colour illustrations, black & white halftones, colour illustrations, black & white line drawings
  • Sales rank: 481,143

Product description

"Christmas from Heaven" is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.

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Author information

Tom Brokaw is a legendary TV journalist, anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News" from 1982 to 2004, he is the only person to host each of NBC News's major news programs: "The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, " and "Meet the Press." He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of "The Greatest Generation" and "The Greatest Generation Speaks," among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren.Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University and has served as associate dean of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications. He holds a BFA from the University of Utah and an MA and MFA from the University of Iowa. He is a member of the Society of Illustrators and was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award. He has illustrated such books as "The Story of the Walnut Tree; Silent Night, Holy Night: The Story of the Christmas Truce; "and "Obama: Only in America." He and his wife, Vicki, are the parents of ten children.

Customer reviews

By Lisa Faber 25 Nov 2013 5

This is a beautifully made book. The book has illustrations with picture inserts of the actual people depicted in the story.

"Hal" was 27 years old flying food into West Berlin in 1948. It was Christmas Eve and he realized that what he was doing was the true spirit of Christmas.

He had love and compassion in his heart for the people who were hungry and suffering after the end of the war and an idea was formed when he witnessed the children watching him through a barbed wire fence. They were grateful and didn't ask for anything.

This started events that lead to Hal being know as "The Candy Bomber."

This is a beautiful story that is full of love and good will. The theme is "From little things come big things."

When I read the story, I was touched. Then I pulled out the accompanying DVD. This story was featured in a Christmas production of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. While I was touched by reading the book, the story brought tears to my eyes when I watched and felt the spirit of it being read by Tom Brokaw with background music of the choir.

Candy parachutes were dropped into the audience and Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen was brought on stage. The spirit of Christmas is stirring in the DVD.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an HONEST review.

By Shauna Wheelwright 23 Nov 2013 5

On Christmas Eve, 1948, American pilot, Gail Halvorsen (Hal), was delivering 20,000 pounds of flour to war-torn Germany in what was termed "Operation Vittles."

On this delivery his mind traveled "back six months to the day that had changed his life."

It was on that day that he saw a group of children...

He talked with them and marveled at their humble, grateful attitudes.

He offered them two sticks of gum and wished he had more to give.

An idea was formed...

Read this amazing book and find out how Hal became known as "the candy bomber."


Included with the book is the DVD of Tom Brokaw telling this story at the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas concert in 2012...