I’ve become fascinated by children’s books set in WW2 ever since my daughter’s primary school had the kids reading The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in year six. I admit I’ve haven’t yet read that book (it’s on my list) but I have seen the film and am really not sure it is appropriate for ten year olds: the book is listed as young adult on Amazon.
As a consequence I think I am searching for a more appropriate book. One that conveys the magnitude of the war, and the social history of the period, while being at an emotional level they can understand.
This is one such book and a beautiful one at that. The main characters are a brother an sister – the sister cruelly treated by her mother for having a club foot. The first few chapters are upsetting as they describe physical and emotional abuse Ada receives. As the two escape through the opportunity to be evacuated, they are looked after by Susan (a lonely grieving woman who never really wanted to look after children) and all three go on an emotional journey.
This book did make me cry a little, because the idea of children being unloved by their mother is a hard one to take. It is beautifully written and you really feel the growth in confidence and self belief in the children as they start to be cherished, even though the war is closing in.
I know it’s a cliche but I didn’t want to put this book down.I hope my eldest likes it as much as I did.