Book Title: Mohinder’s War (available here)
Author: Bali Rai
Illustrator: David Dean
Publisher: Bloomsbury Education
Publication Date: June 2020
Most Suitable for: KS2
Reviewed By: Christine Ivory
Now more than ever, schools are beginning to recognise the importance of sharing with children literature that reflects the multicultural society in which we live and the importance of learning about the stories of people from different cultures within our history. Mohinder’s War follows the journey of a young girl called Joelle, in the midst of Nazi-occupied France, who becomes unlikely friends with an Indian British RAF pilot.
As with any World War Two inspired story, the book tackles the issues many children faced in their war torn country and the risks people had to take in order to protect family, friends and strangers alike, knowing the consequences they could face. Joelle is a likeable character and shows great strength in the face of adversity, dealing with loss and the confusion of being exposed to war at a young age.
The narrative also gives children an insight into the role of soldiers from across the commonwealth. This aspect would provide a great opportunity for teachers and children to research the sacrifices made by these individuals and the impact this had on the war. The book also gives space to questions children may have when encountering the Sikh religion, and presents these in a respectful way that will allow children the opportunity to learn more about the religion. This could also prompt discussions in class and further research.
I often find that a lot of books that take inspiration from this period of time are aimed at children in Upper Key Stage Two, but reading Mohinder’s War is a great way to introduce the topic to children in younger KS2 year groups too, or for struggling readers. Short chapters allow children to pace themselves easily and also allow teachers to fit in a chapter or two at the end of a very busy day as a whole class story.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Christine for reviewing it.
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