Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne is a powerful YA historical novel set during World War I.
The reader follows five year old Alfie at the outbreak of war. The book is told in the third person but from his point of view.
Alfie is wise and brave beyond his years, recognising that he is the man of the family when his father leaves for war. He understands far more than the adults around him give him credit for.
With the men away at war and no welfare state, money is tight. Women have to have several jobs just to survive. Alfie does what he can to help.
We witness the impact of war on a community. The losses are felt by all, as the families dread the sight of telegrams or officers knocking on their door. Alfie’s mother wants to protect him and does not tell him the whole story about his father. This creates even more anxiety in him.
The Power Of Kindness
When The War Came Home by Lesley Parr is a charming historical YA novel set after World War I. It is a story that will delight and entertain you whatever your age.
The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of twelve year old Natty. The reader gets inside her head as her thoughts become our thoughts.
World War I blighted families. Many lost loved ones. Many were injured but not all scars could be seen. “The war took him away… And it gave him back, only not every part of him.” Many returned with what we would now diagnose as PTSD. Young men in their prime who were suffering from shell shock were not always understood by those around them. There are some very upsetting scenes to read as a character returns to the battlefield in his mind. “The war ended ages ago… But we bring it all home… What happened on those battlefields never really leaves us.”
Hold On To Hope
The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington is a powerful historical YA novel that will break your heart and horrify you.
The action is mainly set in Birchwood, the name given to Auschwitz. We see all the action through the eyes of teenager Ella who is remarkably grown up and strong for her age.
We witness the dehumanizing of people but Ella clings to her identity. “I wasn’t a badge or a number. I was Ella.” When you lose sight of who you are, you lose the will to continue. You need to have something to fight for.
Beechwood brings out the very best and the very worst of human nature. There are pockets of kindness within a sea of cruelty.
Camp Survival by Olly Goldenberg is a unique Christian book just perfect for ages ten years and over. It is a book about friendship and bullies and choices – and over it all is the wisdom and love of God for all His children.
God wants us to make good choices. We will always have the choice to do the right thing. Our choices always have consequences.
Throughout the book there are snippets of scripture that are relevant to the different situations we find ourselves in.
We see the importance of prayer, even praying for our enemies. Even when we feel we are alone, God has not left us. He walks alongside us. We also see the importance of being a good friend.
As Christians we need to spread the Good News of Jesus to all our friends.