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To mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and the end of World War Two we have gathered together a selection of books, fiction and non-fiction, new titles and old ones, suitable for a wide range of ages.
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A life-enhancing book and even more amazing because this is the late author's own story, telling of her and her family's flight from Nazi Germany from their home and everything they knew to become refugees, first in Switzerland and then in Paris. - Michael Morpurgo This unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing Germany before the Second World War is now available in a special hardback celebratory 50th anniversary edition.
Translated by Rachel Ward | With an illuminating contextualising foreword by Michael Rosen, Dirk Reinhardt’s The Edelweiss Pirates is a tremendously-told story of astonishing courage as a group of young people living under the brutal Nazi regime launch risky rebellions. The graceful, pacey story begins when sixteen-year-old Daniel encounters an old man, Josef, at a cemetery. Josef is there visiting the grave of his brother, who was murdered during the war. “It’s a long story,” he explains. “But it might interest you. You especially!” Intrigued, Daniel discovers where Josef lives and visits him, whereupon he shares his diary, which reveals how Josef and a band of fellow brave teenagers rebelled against Nazi atrocities. As a teenager, Josef left the Hitler Youth for The Edelweiss Pirates - a group of compellingly cool youngsters. In his words, “they’ve got style: checked shirts and bright neck scarves, leather jackets and belts with huge buckles. Some have straps on their wrists and kind of fancy hats on their heads”. Driven by a motto of freedom, the Pirates initially hang out together to enjoy themselves and let loose but, as Nazi atrocities escalate, they plot and implement perilous missions to undermine the regime. Reeling with details of real-life struggles and feats, and a riveting sense of drama, this is an extraordinary novel about an extraordinary group of youngsters whose lesser-known story reveals the capacity of the human spirit to stand up and risk all to confront barbarism and injustices. It’s a poignant page-turner to the nth degree.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Described as a companion piece, rather than a sequel, to the acclaimed Skylark’s War, it is nevertheless a real joy to meet some of the original characters again, but new readers fear not, this book absolutely stands alone. I think that this author is unsurpassed in character development, with every wonderfully economic, but beautifully crafted phrase or fragment of dialogue we are drawn deeper into these young lives. At first overshadowed by the threat of war and then trying to survive within it are cousins Ruby Amaryllis and Kate and across the channel and on the other side of the conflict, best friends Hans and Erik, who bond initially over saving orphaned fledgling swallows. Indeed swallows become a motif for hope throughout the book. Another real strength of the writing is in depicting recognisably real family dynamics and relationships. As the war tears families apart, we see how the strength of family can also bring people together. The multiple perspectives (including eventually Dog, the mistreated scrapyard dog abandoned in the Blitz) build a really rich and unbiased picture of lives gradually and increasingly impacted by war. Allowing readers to empathise with the different plights on each side of the conflict is a real asset for those studying the history of the period and whilst not skirting over or underplaying any of the true horrors of war, the underlying message is one of hope in the capacity of humanity to show compassion across all borders and barriers. Sensitive, perceptive and immensely powerful, this superb novel is a beautifully polished gem that will leave an indelible impression on the reader.
Chosen as our Guest Editor, Francesca Simon's Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 10-14 | An extraordinary, powerful, and important book, based on the true story of how Liz Kessler’s father escaped from Nazi-occupied Europe thanks to a British couple his family had met once. But what elevates this book about three friends and their different fates in World War Two is the story of Max, the nice, ordinary boy who gradually becomes seduced into hatred and prejudice. The ringing question, ‘What would I do under these circumstances?’ echoes on every page. ~ Francesca Simon
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | Tom Palmer’s riveting After the War was sparked by the true story of Jewish Polish, Czech and German children who were sent to safety in the Lake District after surviving the horrors of Nazism. Addressing big questions - how does hope, humanity and friendship survive unimaginable horrors? How do we begin again? – in a highly-readable style (as is typical of Palmer and publisher Barrington Stoke), this is a thought-provoking, edifying read. Trevor Avery of the Lake District Holocaust Project sets the context in the book’s foreword: “A group of young people arrived in the Lake District in the summer of 1945 and stayed for a few months, the last of them leaving in early 1946. Although they only spent a short time in the area, it was a profoundly important experience for them, and they made a big impression on those who met them at the time.” A sense of this being a “profoundly important experience” is clear from the outset, as revealed when young Yossi first glimpses England, his imagined paradise: “This was the place where they had been told they would be safe. A place where there would be no German soldiers and no concentration camps.” But despite the peace, despite “the lush green hills under a bright blue sky” and the “huge clusters of trees, swallows flitting above them”, Yossi feels unsettled. The brick buildings remind him of concentration camps, and he’s haunted by terrible memories, disturbed by nightmares, and longs for news from his family - will his father ever be found and come for him? Details of everyday life are strikingly evoked, and springboard deeper insights into the children’s experiences – a bike ride reminds Yossi of when he had to surrender his bike to the Nazis, immediately after he and his dad witnessed a horrific attack. An opportunity to attend a Rosh Hashanah celebration triggers his recollection of the terrifying time the SS destroyed his synagogue. A storm over Lake Windermere reminds him of bomb explosions. This device works perfectly, and Yossi’s enduring trauma is palpable. Then, at his lowest, a memory of his father’s words pulls him from the depths of despair: “if we let ourselves go, the Germans will think that they were right: that we are not human.” An exceptional telling of exceptional true events.
The Umbrella Mouse was one of the stand-out debuts of 2019 and scooped the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award. Now Pip, the Umbrella Mouse, hero of the secret animal resistance is back in a new wartime adventure. Her aim is still to reach Italy and the umbrella museum in Gignese where her family are from. But the war is not over, and she is still a fierce defender of liberty, willing to do anything she can for her friends and allies in the fight against Hitler. Courage and that love for her friends sees her through but her adventures have moments of tension and danger aplenty, certainly enough to keep readers absorbed, while the idea of these extraordinary things happening to the smallest of creatures will enthral and inspire them. Sam Usher’s evocative black and white line drawings add to the atmosphere and deep sense of camaraderie.
This dramatic and touching play brings Manchester during the Second World War and its people to life, and provides a variety of opportunities for school classes to explore both historical and literacy topics in an involving and creative setting. Also includes helpful tips on staging and costume.
“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.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | June 2020 Book of the Month | Teeming with drama and compelling code-cracking action, this WWII thriller is driven by the lives of three young people determined to make their mark on the war effort, and by the life-affirming relationship between fifteen-year-old Louisa and the elderly woman she’s employed to look after. Aspiring pilot Louisa is alone in the world. Her white English mother was killed in a London bomb blast, and her black Jamaican dad died on a ship that was torpedoed only three days after her mother died. Through her grief brave Louisa “burns to fight back” and takes a job looking after Jane, an elderly German woman who’s been imprisoned in an alien detainment camp. While travelling to stay with Jane’s niece in her Scottish pub, they form a beautiful bond, finding common ground in their love of music and the fact that they’re both outsiders in Britain - Jane because she’s German, and Louisa because she’s mixed race and subjected to racism. In Scotland they meet fellow outsider, Ellen, a driver for the local RAF airfield who tries to hide her traveller heritage. Ellen’s active role makes Louisa more determined to do something herself, so she takes her chance when a German defector lands at the airfield and leaves a codebreaking Enigma machine. It’s not long before Louisa, Ellen and young flight lieutenant Jamie step-up their war efforts, as their story builds to an impeccably conducted, pulse-quickening crescendo. Alongside being a gripping thriller, this is a truly moving, inspirational novel. Louisa’s passion for music and learning, her wit and ambition, are exhilaratingly infectious. I’d love to know what she does next.
Joint Winner the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This novel moves from poetry to prose, and back again, as it explores a girl’s relationship with her Grandfather. Mizuki can see something is deeply troubling to her Grandfather Ichiro, but she can’t find its source, except it is somehow connected with an old book and Ichiro’s need to create origami paper cranes from it. Mizuki’s worries are expressed in verse before we jump back into prose - to the at times brutal description of the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima and Ichiro’s role in that day and beyond. The descriptions of the effects of the bomb are based on effective research and from survivor’s tales and told in such a way that the reader is entirely there in the moment and the long days after as Hiro rebuilds a life for himself. As we return to Japan in 2018 the novel reverts to poetry to the very modern tale of how Mizuki uses the internet to try to get to the bottom of the problem facing her elderly grandfather. The illustrations in the book help create the many impressions and emotions aroused by the story – they are based on Japanese brush and ink techniques and add a further layer to this already impressive book. This is a harrowing tale but the ultimate redemption in the story leaves one with a sense of hope. Highly recommended.
A gripping historical adventure by a much-loved and award winning author. Soon to be a major motion picture, starring Stranger Things' Noah Schnapp. It is World War II and Jo stumbles on a dangerous secret: Jewish children are being smuggled away from the Nazis, close to his mountain village in Spain. Now, German soldiers have been stationed at the border. Jo must get word to his friends that the children are trapped. The slightest mistake could cost them their lives.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | A personal, powerful and resonant account of the Holocaust by one of this country's best-loved children's authors. By turns charming, shocking and heart-breaking, this is the true story of Michael Rosen's search for his relatives who went missing during the Second World War - told through prose, poetry, maps and pictures.
This new, exciting adventure from bestselling Horrible Histories author Terry Deary brings the Second World War to life. Perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo and John Boyne. World War II has begun. Brigit has been evacuated to Wales from her home near the aeroplane factories of Coventry. But when it's revealed that her father is German, Brigit runs away to join her mother in a very special training camp, where Churchill is building a secret army of spies and saboteurs known as the Special Operations Executive. Brigit and her mother soon find themselves on the front line in Nazi-occupied France, where they search for double agents and meet with danger at every turn in their efforts to support the French resistance. But no-one will suspect Brigit is a spy, will they? After all, who would suspect a child? Featuring characters from The Silver Hand, this page-turning adventure sheds new light on the Second World War and will have readers gripped from start to finish.
May 2019 Debut of the Month | Bombs, ruthless enemies, a channel crossing in the dark, minefields – young Pip has to negotiate all these dangers in the course of this exciting, beautifully written wartime adventure story. It would be challenge enough for anyone, but Pip is a mouse, newly orphaned and homeless too. Fortunately, though she’s small, she’s very, very brave and nothing will stop her in her quest to deliver the umbrella that’s been her home back to the museum in Italy where her mother grew up. Along the way, she joins Churchill’s secret animal army and fights with the Allied forces. It’s testament to the quality of Anna Fargher’s writing that readers will believe in Pip one hundred per cent. The wartime background is vivid and completely convincing and Pip and her animal comrades are beguiling characters. Original adventure from an exciting new author.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | April 2019 Debut of the Month | Marcia Williams is best known for her beautifully illustrated retellings of classic stories. For her first novel she has found inspiration in a true story. Cloud Boy takes the form of a diary written by a girl called Angie throughout a year in which her best friend Harry becomes seriously ill. Interspersed with her entries are readings of her grandmother’s letters - very like diary entries - which were written though never sent when she was a child prisoner in the notorious Changi WW2 camp in Singapore. As things get very difficult for Harry, Angie is by turns sad, scared, frightened and angry. Her grandmother’s letters provide distraction and comfort, especially the descriptions of a quilt the girls in the camp made in secret. The two stories are told with great sensitivity and despite the suffering being described the overwhelming sense is one of resilience and hope.
A suspenseful historical YA debut inspired by the true story of an all-female bomber unit in Russia during World War II. World War II has erupted in Valka's homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She's a pilot-and a good one-so she eagerly joins an all-female bomber regiment. Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German targets is something else entirely. The raids are dangerous, but as Valka watches her fellow pilots putting everything on the line in the face of treachery, she learns the true meaning of bravery. As the war intensifies, though, and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home. Inspired by the true story of a famous all-female Russian bomber regiment, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, of learning to fight for yourself, and of the perils of a world at war.
A super-readable page-turner spiced with absorbing historical detail, and shot-through with the vitality of an unforgettable heroine. Spearheaded by the author’s research into Soviet female WW2 combat pilots, this tells the remarkable story of Nastia. “I was born in a nation of war. I grew up in the shadow of war. And, like everyone else my age, I had been waiting all my life for the “future war”’, she declares with characteristic verve. An exceptional pilot, and the daughter of revolutionaries, Nastia must fight to fly alongside her male peers as her Motherland joins the Second World War. Then, when the fierce air battles begin – conveyed here to fiercely gripping effect – secrets explode and threaten to send her into freefall. Action, adventure, political conflict, personal battles, plus plenty of grit and determination, Firebird is a feast of historical fineness from the Carnegie Medal shortlisted author of Code Name Verity and, since it’s published by Barrington Stoke, it’s also perfectly placed to stoke-up a love of story in reluctant and struggling teen readers.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | July 2017 Book of the Month Lovereading4kids are big fans of Emma’s books. Her stories continue to delight and move me, and Letters from the Lighthouse does not disappoint at all. It’s 1941 and the Second World War rages on longer than anyone anticipated. Reeling from the death of their father and the disappearance of their sister Sukie, Olive and her brother are evacuated to the coast of Devon. After discovering a strangely coded message that she’s certain has something to do with Sukie’s disappearance, Olive embarks on a dangerous adventure as she’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Emma Carroll has a wonderful takent for bringing historic events to life for today’s young readers and with Letters from the Lighthouse continues to create an enthralling, thrilling read, whilst introducing situations and characters that are still relevant in our world today. Olive is a wonderful protagonist. Being an evacuee she has an understanding of the prejudice that can come from lack of understanding. The thing that touched me most within this wonderful novel was the opportunity to hear the stories behind all those effected by war along with the refugees and the impact they had on the locals. War and hate has the ability to divide communities but Letters from the Lighthouse shows how much can be achieved when people work together. A beautifully written story about bravery, compassion, understanding, and having the strength to fight for what you believe in. ~ Shelley Fallows
A stunning anniversary edition of John Boyne's powerful classic bestseller, with illustrations from award-winning artist Oliver Jeffers. When Bruno’s father is promoted to a new job, the family have to move from their comfortable home in Berlin to a strange new house in the middle of nowhere. Gone are the neighbours and the friends Bruno used to play with. The only people around are all in the strange fenced-in area which Bruno can just spy from his bedroom window. Who are they and why do they wear striped pyjamas? When Bruno sets off on an Exploration to find out he learns something very shocking which has unexpected and terrible results. Bruno’s childhood experience provides a new way of looking at the horrors of the Holocaust. (12+) ~ Julia Eccleshare
Best-selling Shirley Hughes brings alive how it felt to be growing up in Liverpool during the Second World War. In a gripping and touching story which draws on her own memories of growing up at that time, Shirley Hughes sets a vivid scene of blackouts, rationing – especially of nylons which was a great hardship for the girls and all against the permanently lurking dread that something terrible is about to happen. But she also brings alive her much life was the same in terms of friendships and adventures as Joan and her best friend Doreen enjoy going to school, seeing off the class bully and going to the cinema.
‘I was awarded the Burma Star and the Yankee Star for my service, but all I really want is for the people who fought alongside me to be remembered.’ So said Ivor Roberts Phillips, one of hundreds of men and women interviewed here about their personal experiences of World War Two. It is more important than ever that we remember, and that children growing up now understand something of what they went through. There are lots of interviews not just with soldiers but with airmen, land girls, members of the Desert Rats and the SOE, and civilians, including those who as children lived through the bombing, in the UK, Germany or Japan. They tell stories of resilience, grief and unexpected happiness, speaking candidly to their interviewers, many of whom are children, and it’s impossible not to be moved and humbled by them. ~ Andrea Reece A note from Tatti de Jersey, Walker Books There are over 80 witness accounts and interviews in the book mostly done by children. The children have spoken with grandparents or neighbours who were prisoners of war in Japan, lived through the Blitz in London, Portsmouth or Manchester, fled the war zones as refugees on the Kindertransport, one who worked with Winston Churchill at the War Rooms and Eve Branson who was a wren. How important is it for our children, our future generation to learn about living and working through WW2 and the aftermath of war? The children learnt what it was like to live during WW2, living on rations (Martha Vine, daughter of Jeremy learnt about boiling up onions which were delicious!) or being the bomb aimer on the dambuster raid, Johnny Johnson the last surviving dambuster was interviewed by his grand daughter! They were awestruck by the stories and how their grandparents relived their experiences. Moving narratives include Lady Zhava Hohn recalling her experience in a concentration camp, the last surviving dambuster, Johnny Johnson telling his great grand-daughter about his time as a bomb aimer, Joy Hunter relating her work alongside Winston Churchill at the War Cabinet to her great grand-daughter, RAF Gunner Harry Irons recounting his first bombing raid on Germany, Anita Lasker-Wallfish explaining how playing the cello in the orchestra at Auschwitz saved her life, Dutch Kirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay on navigating and dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Takashi Tanemori who was playing hide and seek at school in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 describing what happened after the atomic bomb fell in his city. Other voices include narratives from Judith Kerr, Shirley Hughes , Jan Pienkowski, Baroness Trumpington, Eve Branson, Esther Ranzen and the last interview with Sir Nicholas Winton on why he set up the Kindertransport programme in Czechoslovakia in 1936.
Best-selling illustrator Shirley Hughes writes beautifully in this gripping story set during World War Two. Living in Italy during the occupation by the Germans, Paolo and his sister Constanza long to do something for the fight to keep Italy free. They are only children and their only asset is one ancient bicycle but their spirits are indomitable! Shirley Hughes captures the thrill of this very important adventure. This beautifully jacketed edition has a linked website with historical details about the Second World War in Italy, including period photographs, videos and music, as well as interviews with the author, extra illustrations and much more. This is a wonderful first novel from the internationally revered writer Shirley Hughes; a modern classic in the making.
A classic story from World War Two, this tells how three children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are helped by the young orphan Jan to escape from the horrors of Warsaw after the arrest of their parents. How the children travel across war torn Europe surviving every kind of danger and privation is thrilling and deeply moving. It is the story of a terrible time made bearable by the strong streak of humanity at its heart and by the unusual acts of kindness the children experience on their travels.
This is an unputdownable adventure story woven around the evacuation at Dunkirk and then the D-Day landings but from a different angle in that the boy in the story is a conscientious objector but can the help he brings to Dunkirk lay his demons to rest? Packed with historical facts but written as fiction this is a great aid to pupils studying WW2 but also a thrilling read and a crucial reminder to children today of what their ancestors did in preventing what would have resulted in an entirely different country had the UK been invaded by the Nazis. A message from the author, primary school teacher Paul Nolan : “Whilst researching a history lesson on the Dunkirk evacuations, I stumbled upon the amazing story of Charles Lightoller, the most senior surviving crew member of the Titanic. Many had labeled him as a coward, and over the years that followed he was racked by guilt. This story of redemption really resonated with the children I was teaching. It inspired the idea of a WW 1 Conscientious Objector, restoring his reputation by assisting in the Dunkirk evacuation. I wanted the story to be told through the eyes of a child and that’s where Charlie Jones (the central character in Demons of Dunkirk) comes in.'
A heart breaking and heart warming story of a special friendship that grows between Willie Beech, evacuated to the country to avoid the Blitz on London, and Tom Oakley, the reserved old man who takes him in. Willie has been lonely and neglected all his life as his mother lacks the ability to care for him. Under Mister Tom’s patient and kind guidance Willie grows emotionally and physically to become the boy he should have been. But then his mother wants him back home in London. Must Willie loose everything that has made him happy? Be sure to check out other books by this author. Just Henry, A Spoonful of Jam, A little Love Song, Cuckoo In The Nest. Puffin Fact! The beech tree’s slim trunk gave Michelle Magorian the idea for her skinny evacuee’s name – William Beech. Download more Puffin Facts here! _____________ Dear readers, dreamers and adventurers, Ever wanted a friend who could take you to magical realms, talk to animals or help you survive a shipwreck? Well, you'll find them all in the PUFFIN BOOK collection. A PUFFIN BOOK will stay with you forever. Maybe you'll read it again and again, or perhaps years from now you'll suddenly remember the moment it made you laugh or cry or simply see things differently. Adventurers big and small, rebels out to change their world, even a mouse with a dream and a spider who can spell - these are the characters who make stories that last a lifetime. Whether you love animal tales, war stories or want to know what it was like growing up in a different time and place, the A PUFFIN BOOK collection has a story for you - you just need to decide where you want to go next... We want to know which is your favourite. Tell us or tweet a photo of your old beloved copy - and we might just send you a new A PUFFIN BOOK so you can pass the story on. Love - PUFFIN @puffinbooks #shareapuffinbook
A collection of poetry from the Second World War, published in association with Imperial War Museums. The Imperial War Museum was founded in 1917 to collect and display material relating to the 'Great War', which was still being fought. Today IWM is unique in its coverage of conflicts, especially those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present. They seek to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and wartime experience.
In an extraordinary mix of fact and fiction, Robert Westall describes the Second World War through the eyes of a cat. Blitzcat leaves her home to track down her person, a pilot with the RAF. Her journey takes her through all the dangers of the war – there’s a particularly vivid account of the Coventry blitz - and in and out of the lives of people caught up in it. Passion and violence are depicted vividly, as are humour, courage and human warmth. Few authors for children write as well about war as Westall, none write about it better; this book deserves to be recognised as a modern classic. ~ Andrea Reece
Now with a brilliant new cover look, Robert Westall's gripping first novel for children set during World War Two is celebrating its fortieth anniversary. One of the best war books ever written for children. Completely unputdownable, scary and with incredibly well portrayed characters, itt captures the life during World War II brilliantly. The Machine Gunners won the Carnegie Medal in 1975.
Published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, this is a perfect introduction to all aspects of the war, covering key events, a who's who of the military and political figures and the effect and impact of the war on all of the countries involved. You might also be interested in the companion title 50 Things You Should Know About the First World War. We have a very special category on World War Literature selected by our editorial experts and created in remembrance of the 100th anniversary in 2014 of the start of World War One and the 70th anniversary in 2015 of the end of World War Two.
This is a new book from L. M. Elliott who wrote the excellent WW2 novel Under a Worn-Torn Sky. This is also set during World War Two, but tells a very different story: that of two young English brothers who, like thousands of others, were evacuated to America at the beginning of the war. For Charles and Wesley, America is a strange land, and initially adapting is hard. They are worried about their family back home, and Wesley in particular is scarred by some of the terrible scenes they witnessed on their journey. The boys are overwhelmed by the generosity of their hosts, but encounter hostility too, and witness the racial segregation that the war began to change. Elliott paints a wonderfully vivid picture of 1940s America and the boys’ adventures make for inspiring and informative reading. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from the editor, Sarah Stewart Acclaimed for her incredibly real depiction of a WWII soldier’s life in Under A War-Torn Sky, here L.M. Elliott brings to life the rarely-told story of evacuees to America. Following two brothers as they try to reconcile the tragedy they left behind in London with the sunlit American farm life they now find themselves part of, this is a story of family, honour and fitting in. Filled with fascinating facts and real wartime anecdotes, Across Enemy Seas is an authentic slice of history with a big heart.
February 2015 Book of the Month Of the many stories of the Holocaust, that of the Jews of Riga in Latvia is among the less well known. This book tells their story for young people, clearly and honestly, emphasising its importance and relevance to us all. Discovering that her great-grandmother had come from Riga in the early 1900s inspired Vanessa Curtis to find out what happened to those relatives who stayed: Jewish, their fate was the worst imaginable. She describes those terrible times through the eyes of 15 year old Hanna, a normal, lively teenager, with a handsome boyfriend. Readers will find it easy to identify with Hanna, which makes her account of what happens to her even more affecting. The story ends on a note of hope for Hanna, and is a powerful tribute to all the Latvian victims of the Nazis. ~ Andrea Reece The Earth is Singing is Vanessa’s first historical novel, which she was inspired to write when she discovered her own Jewish Latvian heritage. Vanessa says: 'The story of the Jews of Riga is not widely known. After finding out that my great-grandmother was born there, but came over to England at the turn of the twentieth century, I began to wonder what happened to the Jewish friends and relatives that she had left behind. I visited the Riga Ghetto Museum and saw photographs of many of the thousands of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis in 1941. Their eyes seemed to be telling me to relate their story, so that is what I did. I am delighted that Usborne have given me the opportunity to bring this story to a wider audience.'
Chosen as one of the Top Ten Best New Books for Children 2015 by Andrea Reece. - January 2015 Book of the Month I had never heard of Przewalskis horses until I read this book (they do in fact have an entry in Creaturepedia). The last descendants of an ancient breed, they live on the Ukrainian nature reserve Askaniya-Nova which is where this story begins. It’s wartime and a troop of SS soldiers have been sent to destroy the horses, as ‘a biologically unfit species’. Kalinka, a young girl orphaned by the war takes it on herself to lead the last two horses to safety. What follows is a gripping story of courage and resolve, an unusual animal story that is even more affecting because it includes real life events. ~ Andrea Reece
Award-winning Barbara Mitchelhill brings Billy’s war-struck childhood vividly to life in this dramatic story of survival. Billy’s dad is away fighting and Billy’s mum thinks that the war will always be far away from their home in South London. As the threat gets close, Billy’s friends are evacuated to safety in the country. But not Billy or his sister Rose. His mum is sure that he will be safe at home. But will they? When the Blitz starts and the bombs begin to fall Billy faces real danger.
It's 1945. World War II has just ended and twelve-year-old Rusty comes back home to Britain after being evacuated to the US. The greyness and bleakness of life in England is a shock, but even worse is adapting to the strict discipline of her family, including a brother she's never met, after the warmth and openness of her adopted American family. Rusty is sent to a horrific boarding school, before finally running away as her search for happiness becomes more and more desperate.
Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "This is a very touching utterly convincing book about three wartime evacuees billeted to Wales. It's very much a children's story, with a mystery to be solved, but Nina Bawden is very subtle with her characterisation - even hateful Mr Evans with his cruel bullying is seen as sadly pathetic too. Carrie and her little brother Nick are a delight, but my favourite character is their friend Albert Sandwich. He might sport steel spectacles and have a few spots on his chin, but he's one of the most charming boys in all children's fiction." ............................................................................ I loved Carrie’s War from the moment I read it and have enjoyed it more and more with each rereading. At first, I appreciated Nina Bawden’s descriptions of the place and the people: the way she created the stifling atmosphere of the shop and how it contrasted with the freedom of everything that happened at Druid’s Bottom. I read it as the story of a girl being brave when she was away from home. Later, I came to realise that I and all other readers learned tolerance and understanding just like Carrie does. When Carrie is evacuated to Wales with her brother, Nick, she is removed from everything she knows. In a new home and without her parents to advise her Carrie has to work out for herself how she feels about the places around her and how to respond to the unusual circumstances in which she finds herself. While Nick’s emotions are always open, both as he grieves for his missing parents and in how he throws himself without restraint into the new way of life, both embracing Auntie Lou and challenging the bullying councillor Evans, Carrie is more reserved. Carrie waits and watches: she accepts the new situations and considers them coolly. She takes time to adjust to living apart from her parents and to find that she can make decisions for herself. But it’s only when she and Nick are sent to Druid’s Bottom, the strange spooky house set down in the bottom of the valley, that she can really let herself go, having at last found people she can trust. Carrie’s personal journey of discovery is a rich and marvellous one. It’s at Druid’s Bottom that Carrie meets Mrs Gotobed and discovers that growing old is not as terrible as it seems. Here to she meets Mr Johnny with his strange gobbling speech and learns that differences need not be frightening, while from her fellow evacuee Albert sandwich she learns to value her own intelligence. Above all it’s at Druids bottom that she meets the kindly and wise Hepzibah Green whose all-enveloping love and common sense keep Carrie going in difficult times. Despite these themes of separation and the very real dangers posed by the background of the war, Carrie’s War is an upbeat lyrical story containing moments of emotional truth. It is also universal story about growing up, making choices and learning who you can trust. Above all, it’s a story of enormous warmth and understanding, capturing that all-important transition from childhood to adolescence as Carrie grows in her understanding and finds out what really matters to her. One of the most heart-warming and unforgettable stories of the war tells the story of the evacuation of two children to Wales and about growing up amongst strangers and without family. It’s a wonderful evocation of times past and beautifully written. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
To mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day this is a boxed set of three paperback books from the True Stories series: The Blitz, D-Day and The Second World War. This collection provides a great introduction to the military tactics, the tools of warfare and the roles of soldiers and civilians during this tumultuous time. But also, through the use of real-life stories these books illustrate the very personal experiences of war and the impact on those who lived through the Second World War.
May 2014 Book of the Month Growing up in Germany at the beginning of the Second World War, Karl Engel imagines the role he might play in fighting for his country. Joining the Hitler Youth movement will be his first step. But after his father is killed, Karl realises that the war is not so good or glorious as he had once thought. Gradually, and especially after his brother Stephan is in trouble, Karl begins to question the world he lives in. Rich in detail, this is a thought-provoking story. A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House Brothers often fight – and feel that parents just don’t understand or take unfair sides. But when taking sides becomes a matter of life and death, then the brothers in Dan Smith’s war-time Germany have to make some tough decisions together. Based on real Second World War events, this brilliant story gives a feeling of what life was like when children were faced with real evil and conflict. Fighting for our freedom – who knows if it may be something we have to choose again one day!
Epic encounters between titanic warships, battles involving thousands of men, and duels between lone snipers facing almost certain death are just some of the dramatic tales in this gripping collection of stories from the Second World War. This is one of three books included in a special boxset from Usborne called True Stories of the Second World War published in association with the Imperial War Museum to mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. You may also be interested in the companion books of this series, The Blitz and D-Day.
This is a great all round introduction to The Blitz, the name given to the raids over Britain by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. The book is structured around the real-life experiences of pilots - both British and German - and of civilians who experienced the terrors and aftermath of the Blitz attacks. Each story is peppered with interesting facts including details about the aircraft used, the scientific developments such as radar which brought such benefits to the Allied Forces and the political strategy of the time. With fascinating accounts from London firemen, evacuees sent into the countryside for their own safety and tales of courage from fighter pilots this book illustrates the very real impact and experience of war. This is one of three books included in a special boxset from Usborne called True Stories of the Second World War published in association with the Imperial War Museum to mark the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. You may also be interested in the companion books of this series, D-Day and The Second World War.
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for 5-12's Award 2015 - Shortlisted for the Little Rebels Book Award 2015 A thoughtful and emotionally charged story in which different generations are linked by their common cause of dealing with bullies and hatred. Jessie’s life has been full of changes. She has found it hard to adjust but the one constant has been her Gran. But Gran is getting increasingly confused and suddenly everything in Jessie’s life seems to fall apart. There are bullies in the village, her own cousin seems to have turned against her and she keeps falling out with her very best friend. And there’s Gran’s new dog Snowy to look after and then Gran to visit in hospital. Helping piece together the story of Gran’s childhood while also doing a project on Nazi Germany helps Jessie to be brave and to understand that sometimes people do bad things when under pressure. A Piece of Passion from Catnip Commissioning Editor Liz Bankes ‘Jessie’s voice is entirely authentic as a child on the cusp of realising how the world works. Anne’s passion for her characters and the themes that inspired her to write this book bubbles fiercely under the surface of a beautifully told story - one with the power to move me, and the sales team, to tears. This book will change hearts and minds’.
March 2014 Book of the Month Emotionally taut and empathic, this novel will transport the reader into the very heart of the Second World War and the lives of children caught in the middle of history. Yuri is celebrating his fourteenth birthday when the German planes comes swooping low over his home dropping bombs as they pass. The Battle of Stalingrad has begun. One of the most significant battles of World War Two and one which accounted for the greatest loss of life is described through the eyes of children. Despite the obvious suffering the children all manage to keep going in a heart-rending story of individual courage and collective endeavour as the citizens of Stalingrad fought to survive and to keep Stalingrad – and the whole of Russia - safe from the German army. A Piece of Passion from Susan Houlden, Editor, O'Brien Press When you have been working with children’s authors for over 25 years, you sometimes think you cannot be surprised or excited by any new manuscript that lands on your desk. Then someone like Nicola Pierce comes along. And there really is excitement as you turn to the first page – even when the book is in its first draft.There is a haunting quality to Nicola’s novels. Her characters will enter your life and they won’t let you put them down. You will never forget their stories. When you are reading City of Fate you have to know what happens to five-year-old Peter and his friends Yuri and Tanya as the Germans take control of the city of Stalingrad during WWII. And you feel you are on the train, crossing the great Volga River, sitting beside men and boys who may die, on the way to fight for the city, with Vlad and his classmates. You can hear Stalin, the Russian leader, with his order number 227: ‘Not One Step Back’. And you’re hoping they’ll all survive – even the bully Anton. A note from the author - I’ve always been interested in the two World Wars. Once I finished Spirit of the Titanic my publisher asked me what I wanted to write next. A good friend suggested the Battle of Stalingrad. I read up on it and discovered that this battle is generally considered to be the most important battle of World War II because it was the first time a German army was well and truly demolished. Over nine hundred lost children managed to survive for nine months in a devastated and dangerous city, and only six of those were ever re-united with their parents. I quickly decided this was the story for me.
July 2013 Book of the Month An exciting and thought-provoking World War II adventure for children aged 9-12. With shades of Michael Morpurgo, Michelle Magorian and Robert Westall’s classic The Machine Gunners the author carefully explores the moral dilemma of helping the enemy, and the pressures placed on family members left at home, far away from enemy lines. A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher My uncle was a rear-gunner on a bomber in the war, and when he was shot down I hoped that someone would look after him. This is the choice facing our hero Peter, who finds out that being brave sometimes means doing what is most difficult. Loyalty to real values is even harder when war seems so black and white. Dan Smith’s courageous story is exciting, moving, and full of conflict. I think you’ll find yourself really CARING about what’s going to happen next.
Award-winning author and illustrator duo Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman have created a touching story about the way lives become entangled during conflict and how, unexpectedly, those ties can lead to enduring friendship. When Alex and her little brother Charlie met two old men on the beach they hear the unusual story of how their friendship developed despite fighting on opposing sides and how their past links to their own mother’s childhood.
Partly autobiographical, these are first and second books in the internationally acclaimed trilogy by Judith Kerr, telling the unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing from Germany at the start of the Second World War. Michael Morpurgo called When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: The most life-enhancing book you could ever wish to read.
Once again the former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, weaves an intensely moving story about an extraordinary animal caught up in a very human war. It’s World War Two in Germany, the animals in Dresden Zoo are to be killed because of the bombing but Elizabeth's mother who works there decides to save a young elephant and keep it in her garden. When her house is bombed she and her children and Marlene the elephant must escape the bombings and the Russians. It’s utterly compelling and like Michael’s other animal stories such as Adolphus Tips, Kaspar the Cat, The Butterfly Lion and Where the Whales Came, it is not to be missed.
A Lovereading4Kids 'Debut of the Year 2011' selection. 9+. Real-life action pumps through this wholly absorbing war time adventure. James Holland’s extensive knowledge of the history of the period gives him a rare ability to bring it vividly to life in a way that is both absolutely gripping and deeply moving. Johnny Hawke, only sixteen and a brand new Private in 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Yorkshire Rangers, immediately finds himself caught up in fighting on all sides. Johnny and his fellow soldiers are determined to stop the German advance. But, will they be able to ? What is they are all killed doing so? Duty Calls: Dunkirk captures the realities of war and the kind of bravery that comes from it. Click here to visit the Duty Calls website which includes both book and historical information, plus resources for teachers.
Shortlisted for the 2012 Carnegie Medal. | Unforgettable and eye opening, this is a compelling and deeply moving story of one family’s survival against unimaginable odds. Taken from their home with only twenty minutes to pack, Lina along with her mother and younger brother gather together everything they think is important. Herded into a train in Lithuania, they begin a seemingly endless journey of unimaginable deprivation and horror which takes them to Siberia. Lina tells the family story describing the emotional turmoil especially about the whereabouts of their father as well as capturing the fleeting moments of hope and even the feelings of falling in love which make survival possible.
A gripping time-slip story with a World War Two setting plunges two children into an exciting adventure when they climb aboard a mysterious train and find themselves transported back to London at the time of the Blitz. Soon Joe and Scarlett find themselves on a desperate mission to save the life of Alfie whose home is blown to smithereens by a bomb. Packed full of detail about the time, this is gives a good insight into the very real dangers of growing up during the Blitz.
This is a wondrous book that has been unavailable for far too long. At last though it’s back for a new generation of children to enjoy, and perhaps their parents too. Michael Foreman with Louise Borden have successfully brought to life the story of those on a small fishing craft which formed part of the Armada of little ships that saved many besieged British troops in Dunkirk in the second World War. The spare and dramatic text alongside some remarkable pictures bring this very important bit of our history vividly to life.
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2010 With bombers flying overhead, an evacuee arriving to live among them and several mysterious adult visitors, too, life for Molly and Abigail is transformed during the Second World War. The two girls, helped by Adam the evacuee, are determined to solve the mysteries of the body found on the footpath, the stolen flower press, the missing shovel and even the picture stolen from a French art gallery. Strong period details and lots of adventure make this a charming and exciting story of children taking independent decisions and acting bravely.
March 2010 Guest Editor Michael Foreman: "Towards the end of WWII enemy prisoners of War were brought to our village to help bring in the harvest. We boys played football with them, the enemy, during their break times. Children face-to-face with the enemy is the theme of Friend or Foe by Michael Morpurgo. I have been fortunate to have worked with 'the other Michael' on more than twenty books. As Friend or Foe is not one of them, I feel I can recommend this as a classic Morpurgo - children centre stage - not in a fantasy, but in a huge real life drama."
Brilliantly observed in words and pictures, War Boy is a first hand, eye-witness view of growing up in World War Two. Michael Foreman grew up in Lowestoft where bombing raids causing terrible damage were common as planes flew in over the North Sea. But amid the real dangers, Foreman and his friends made the best of their extraordinary circumstances enjoying a childhood with many familiar ingredients such as playing loads of football and belonging to different gangs and many unfamiliar ones including spotting and identifying enemy planes, playing ping pong on Morrison shelters and making rude noises with their gas masks. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. Love Reading adds: War Boy is a modern classic that combines a touching personal story with factual information and wonderful illustrations. Wartime is brought vividly to life and interweaved with plenty of Michael Foreman’s personal childhood memories including when the bomb came through the roof. Reading this is in unforgettable experience. Winner of the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal.Other titles in this series of books set in, around and after the two world wars of the 20th century by Michael Foreman include, After the War was Over, War Game, War Boy, Farm Boy and Billy the Kid.
This special edition includes stories from real-life evacuees, uncovered from the Imperial War Museums. When Lenny's father goes to fight in the Second World War he gives his son a brass badge with two animals engraved on it: a lion for bravery and a unicorn for courage. Then, Lenny himself must go away, evacuated from his home and family to escape the bombing. Staying in a strange new place, Lenny gathers all his lion bravery, all his unicorn courage, and discovers that magic can happen, even in the most desperate of times.
The story of a young boy's journey through Europe after escaping from the camp where he had lived all his life. Sea, mountains and flowers, the colours of Italy, the taste of fruit, people laughing and smiling, all are new to David. And David learns that his polite manner, his haunted eyes and his thin features are strange to other people.
HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH. It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES
This is an award-winning and bestselling tale of friendship and courage. Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. When a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France, she is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in 'Verity's' own words, as she writes her account for her captors. Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they've ever believed in is put to the test... A remarkable book. (Daily Mail).