by Deborah Heiligman
When Germany began relentlessly bombing London some parents sought to protect their children by sending youngsters overseas to places of relative safety. A luxury ocean liner, the SS City of Benares set sail on September 12, 1940 departing from Liverpool and bound for Canada. The ship carried 406 people, including over 90 children. Terror struck five days into the journey when a German U-boat fired a torpedo, sinking the ship.
Meticulously researched, the narrative describes the ordeal endured by passengers and crew set adrift in the icy Atlantic. The story of six boys who spent eight days clinging to a lifeboat until they were rescued is particularly harrowing.
Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” chronicles this catastrophe and the fate of its few survivors. A story of tragedy and suffering. A story of heroism and hope. Narrative nonfiction at its best.
Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange
Two sisters, along with their parents live in a lighthouse set on a clifftop overlooking the sea. Nearby are four upright stones, which local lore believes are four girls turned into stone. Petra suspects that she is destined to become a part of this ancient legend.
With the threat of a German invasion, Britain relocates individuals with German heritage and possible enemy sympathies to internment camps. Petra Zimmerman Smith's mother is German. A tribunal determines that this wife of a British citizen may be a threat to security. She is sent to an internment camp.
It is evident that there is a saboteur within the community. Petra is determined to discover the traitor's identity and exonerate her mother. It's a dangerous mission. The enemy is ruthless and will stop at nothing to silence anyone who interferes with plans to aid a German invasion. Petra risks her life to save her family and her country.
Our Castle by the Sea is a fantastic intertwining of mythology, history, and intrigue.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Neglect and abuse are all that Ada has ever known. She and her club foot are concealed in shame within a small apartment. When the threat of bombing reaches London, she and her brother escape. Posing as evacuees, they travel to Kent and are placed in the home of Susan Smith.
This benefactor offers the siblings a clean warm home with plenty of nourishing food. She arranges a consultation with a doctor who believes that the deformed foot can be corrected. Ada learns to read, makes a friend, and watches for German spies. Most wondrous of all, Ada cares for and rides the beautiful pony in the adjoining pasture.
While the threat of an enemy invasion is constantly on the minds of everyone, within the home of Susan Smith each one is fighting a personal battle.
The War That Saved My Life is satisfying and heartwarming. A story of conquering fear and learning to love.