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Letters from the Lighthouse

We weren’t supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren’t even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.

February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

Our Review Panel says...

This delightful new book is an excellent text for encapsulating experiences of World War II from the viewpoint of children. It tells the moving story of Olive and her brother Cliff as they leave the heavily bombed streets of London and become evacuees on the coast of Devon, sent to live with an enigmatic lighthouse keeper. Soon Olive finds herself caught up in a dark mystery linking the disappearance of her sister Sukie with a strangely coded message. Letters from the Lighthouse is an incredibly empathetic story that not only portrays the hardships of life during the war but also poignantly explores the anguishing encounters of refugees looking for safety in new places while carrying with them the heartbreak of leaving a war-torn home behind. We recommend this story for upper KS2 classrooms.

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Letters from the Lighthouse

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