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Mohinder's War

Written by Bali Rai

Part of the Flashbacks Series

Key Stage 2 Gritty Reads Historical Fiction Warfare / Battles

LoveReading View on Mohinder's War

Fight for survival, flight to freedom, friendship for a lifetime - this WWII thriller tells an empathy-inspiring story.

“We are all family,” says Mo, the Indian-born RAF pilot who becomes irrevocably connected to thirteen-year-old Joelle when his plane crashes near her Nazi-occupied French village. “I believe that all of creation is one whole. We are bound together, each of us, by invisible links, and all are equally important.” This uplifting ethos of equality ripples through Mohinder’s War, a story of solidarity and survival against the odds; of friendship and hope through horror and loss.


Joelle lived a “charmed life” in pre-war France, her English mother and French father kept busy by their family boulangerie. Following the outbreak of war and Nazi occupation they support the French Resistance. As a result, when Joelle happens upon Mohinder, they keep him safe in their home - but at huge risk, for the Germans know about Mo’s crashed plane and have placed a reward on his capture. Alongside the ever-present menace of discovery, the French Resistance want Mo as a bargaining chip. “The British left us to rot,” they say. “Now, in exchange for their pilot, they must pay too.” Then, when treachery leads to tragedy, Mo comes good on his promise to protect Joelle. 


Short, and driven by compelling characters, engaging dialogue and an onward-marching pace, this is perfect for reluctant readers who may struggle to keep focus. It’s also excellent for prompting discussions around WWII and broader ethical issues - betrayal, trust and what it is to do the right (and wrong) thing. Importantly, it also shows the vital role played by Indians in Britain’s WWII campaign, and shares information about Mo’s Sikh faith. Stirringly, the story is framed by a contemporary setting, with Joelle revealing this incredible - and hitherto unknown – story at Mo’s funeral.

Joanne Owen

Mohinder's War Synopsis

A thrilling World War II adventure set in occupied France, featuring an Indian RAF pilot. Great for fans of Michael Morpurgo and John Boyne, and those who want diverse historical fiction.

Thirteen-year-old Joelle Breton stumbles across Indian-born RAF pilot Mohinder Singh when his plane crashes in occupied France and it's up to her and her parents to hide him from the Nazis. After all, her parents are brave members of the French Resistance and will do everything they can to help get Mohinder back to Britain. But when they are betrayed and tragedy strikes, Joelle and Mohinder will have to act fast if they are ever to evade the enemy. Flashbacks offer dramatic stories set in key moments of history, perfect for introducing children to historical topics.

Mohinder's War Press Reviews

Bali Rai's writing is a perfect balance between simplicity and truth for children to grasp the realities of these events during WWII. --

I really enjoyed Mohinder's War [...] there's plenty of drama and action and it makes for an exciting and tense read. -- Get Kids into Books

A fantastic insight into life under German occupation which shines an important light on the role of Indian soldiers fighting for the British. -- Chrikaru Reads

Book Information

ISBN: 9781472958372
Publication date: 11th June 2020
Author: Bali Rai
Publisher: Bloomsbury Education an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 160 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2
Topics: Gritty Reads, Historical Fiction, Warfare / Battles

About Bali Rai

Bali Rai is a well-established, award winning and hugely popular voice within the young adult fiction market.  His particular successful title Rani and Sukh became a set-text for GCSE English.  His novel Killing Honour won the North East Teen Book Award, and was described as 'utterly compelling' by The Bookseller. He lives in Leicester with his family. Read more about the author here.  Bali is Booktrust's online writer in residence. Click here to read his blog.

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