REVIEWS: VE Day Remembered

Three top WWII books for children, specially selected to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day  

 

 A flight from Nazi Germany: Judith Kerr's classic

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Part autobiography, Judith Kerr's account of a Jewish family fleeing Hitler's Germany as the country stands on the brink of war is an important milestone in children's books. Published in 1971, it tells the story of 9-year-old Anna whose father suddenly goes missing, and her family's subsequent flight from their homes, friends, and toys. Once read, never forgotten. HarperCollins, age: 10+  

HarperCollins, age: 10+  

 WWII remembered by Michael Foreman 

War Boy by Michael Foreman 

Foreman's  WWII memoir of his childhood in Suffolk gives a unique insight into a young boy's experience of wartime conflict. It includes the true story of the bomb that comes crashing through the roof of Michael's house, bounces round his bedroom before landing in the grate and exploding up the chimney. His trademark watercolour illustrations complement the story perfectly. 

 

What would you do if you got your hands on a German machine gun?

The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall 

Seen through the eyes of teenager Chas, Westall's wonderful adventure story about a gang of Tyneside kids who gets their hands on a German machine gun may sound preposterous but he actually based the tale on a real life incident that took place in Holland during WWII. The novel won the prestigious Carnegie medal back in 1975, but it's as fresh and touching today despite the passage of time. Vividly imagined, the friendship and trust between Chas, his mates and stranded German rear-gunner Rudi makes a serious point about war and xenophobia and won't be wasted on readers, young or old. This new VE Day commemorative edition also features a special bonus short story, The Haunting of Chas McGill. Macmillan, age: 11+

 

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