The childhood books that really stand out for me are;
The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
Back Home Michelle Magorian
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr.
These three books began my fascination with WW2. I will read anything set round this period, fiction or non-fiction. The main players Churchill, Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini are all fascinating but I really love reading stories about ordinary people living through the war.
The Silver Sword is the tale of Balicki children; Ruth, Edek and Bronia, who are separated form their parents when the Nazis invade Poland. Along with Jan, a boy they befriend, the children struggle to survive in occupied Poland. After the Nazi surrender they travel to Germany hoping to find their parents. The Silver Sword is their talisman; a paper knife in the shape of a sword. I remember being completely enraptured with this book, the ties between the siblings and the fact that children were surviving alone.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is the story of Anna, a Jewish school girl, who’s parents have to flee Germany when Hitler comes to power. The story follows them as they move to France and then England trying to escape the Nazis. I remember the themes of being different and wanting to fit in were at the heart of this novel.
Back Home is the story of Rusty who was sent from England to the USA for five years during WW2. Apparently quite a few children were sent when it was feared Britain would be invaded. The story deals with her return and how difficult she finds it to readjust to her family, especially her mother. Again I liked this book because it dealt with the difficulties of growing up and feeling alienated from your home and the people around you.
Michelle Magorian also wrote the wonderful Goodnight Mr Tom which I did read as a child but much preferred when I re-read it a few years ago to a Year Four class. The BBC did a wonderful adaptation with John Thaw.
This was a really interesting post to write and I really want to re-read my childhood favourites now.
For more weekly geeks posts of childhood favourites go here.