TEACHERS, PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS: HEADS UP

The War That Saved My Life
Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers, Penguin, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Hardcover Edition: 316 pages
Source: Personal Copy
Honors: Newbery Honor Winner

10-year-old Ada has suffered much at the hands of an abusive mother living in poverty in London. When she is evacuated along with other children to live in the countryside with a grieving, stern, but kind woman, it seems a heaven-sent blessing. No longer completely ostracized for her club foot and able to befriend a pony, her life vastly improves. But the stain of her abuse prevents her from understanding or enjoying her new home.

Ada is the narrator of her tale, Susan is her caretaker, younger brother Jamie is often her comfort. There is plenty of heartfelt emotion and suspense in her story. Pages are easy to turn, and the English coast in wartime is a scary place. This reader compliments the author on her excellent writing. Determination and courage are realistically portrayed everywhere in this story.

My verdict is easily four stars. It may be published with middle-school readers in mind, but many older and adult readers will enjoy it. Consider this as a gift for the younger readers in your life, and if you are teaching or working with teachers, I urge you to pick up this book. It can be used in many ways and is great for school writing assignments too.

Ada and her story will stay in my mind over the coming months. It catches the reader’s heart and holds on tightly. I see her riding the pony Butter across his pasture and into her future.

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