BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Anna at War (available here)
Author: Helen Peters
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: July 2019
Most Suitable For: Upper KS2
Reviewed by: Jayne Gould (@JayneG60 ), Librarian
Anna at War opens, and closes, using a motif that will be familiar to those who enjoy Michael Morpurgo’s novels of a person recalling a period of the past - perhaps by telling a grand-child who wants to find out for a school project. This moving novel begins with Anna, the grandmother, explaining how she was sent away by her parents, following the events during the night of the ninth of November 1938 in Germany on Kristallnacht.
Knowing that, as a Jew, she would no longer be safe, young Anna manages to get a space on the Kindertransport, bringing children like Anna to the relative safety of Britain. Following an arduous journey, Anna is taken in by a family in Kent, who live and work on a country estate. Despite her fears for her parents, Anna settles in, working hard at school and making friends, even though there is some hostility and suspicion from a few of the village children.
During 1940, when the threat of invasion pervades the country, Anna and her foster siblings Molly and Frank find themselves drawn into a dangerous web of deceit and betrayal. This is Anna’s opportunity to prove whose side she is really on…
Told in the first person, Anna’s story has an immediacy that grips the reader, drawing them in as she adapts to her new life. There is poignancy as well as excitement, through short chapters that keep up the momentum of the adventure as well as exploring Anna’s feelings.
Inviting comparison with the late Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, this book also serves to highlight the plight of refugees today. The experiences of children fleeing war torn states is not so different from those who left Germany and other countries on the Kinderstransport, finding themselves relying on the kindness of strangers. I
highly recommend this book.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jayne for reviewing it.