When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

Three Lives. One Photograph

When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler is a powerful historical children’s novel, suitable for ages twelve years and over. Even as an adult, I found this book an incredibly moving read about a time when Europe was veiled by a terrible dark cloud.

The novel opens in Vienna in 1936 as we meet three nine year old friends, Max, Elsa and Leo, two of whom are Jewish. After one perfect day, captured on a photo, the three vow to be best friends forever.

When The World Was Ours is the story of their individual, and collective, war. Each one had different wartime experiences. Their stories are told in the first person from the three alternating points of view.

This is a powerful tale that is grounded in fact. This is a book that must be read in memory of the six million innocents who perished. May they never be forgotten.

As Hitler’s power increased, childhood was left behind. The three friends who vowed to be together forever, separated by the ravings of a madman.

Continue reading

The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang

Full Circle

The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang is a powerful, moving, contemporary Korean novel that I enjoyed.

We see the action through the eyes of Scraggley, a puppy who grows up.

This book deals with the circle of life as we follow Scraggley. She is a feisty pup who fights back when the bad guys appear. Her owners think she is just noisy but Scraggley alerts them to potential danger. She knows far more than her owners give her credit for.

Scraggley is a loyal dog, loyal to both humans and canines. She has a love-hate relationship with the old cat who torments her.

Continue reading

Dog Days by Ericka Waller

Navigating Life

Dog Days by Ericka Waller is a powerful contemporary novel that follows characters through the battle fields of life. It is heartbreaking, and also inspiring, showing the strength of the human spirit.

As the title suggests, dogs feature in the novel. For each human character, there is a canine companion who is unswervingly loyal, very perceptive, and who help their humans through some difficult days.

All the characters are uniquely drawn. They are likable and believable, bringing out empathy within the reader.

We meet newly widowed George who has had the light go out in his life. “He’s furious with Ellen for dying.” George has to learn to live again. He has to learn that it is okay to smile again. His wife of forty years, knew just what George would need and therefore left him little notes in some of the most unusual places. “It doesn’t hurt less exactly, it just is, and there is nothing George can do about it.” Grief never goes away but exists side by side with life.

A character is struggling with life. Outwardly his life is sorted, but inwardly he is crumbling. He lacks confidence and struggles to be his true self. His canine companion offers unfailing love and support.

Continue reading

The Little Book Of Extraordinary Cats by Anita Kelsey

The Purr-fect Gift

The Little Book Of Extraordinary Cats by Anita Kelsey is a pure delight for any cat lover.

There are fifteen tales of fifteen unique cats who have revealed amazing feats or extraordinary acts of bravery. After each chapter there are short paragraphs of other cats who have similar stories.

Each story is accompanied by colour photos of the cats.

Did I have a favourite tale? Yes, I had two. I was full of admiration for Scarlett who rescued her kittens from a fire. Sinbad’s story tugged at my heartstrings – that brave little face is adorable. Who are Scarlett and Sinbad? Buy a copy of the book to find out.

Continue reading