Posts Tagged ‘War stories’

The impossible boy

By Leonie Agnew

ISBN 9780143309062

Penguin Random House, New Zealand

 

boy

 

This is one of those books that draws you in, keeps you going and makes you believe in the impossible.

                          Vincent Gum finds six-year-old Benjamin moments after an explosion and leads him through wrecked city streets to the children’s shelter. Vincent isn’t interested in hanging around to babysit, but by the time they arrive he knows that Ben, with his crazy ideas and weird imaginary games, won’t survive ten minutes there without someone to look out for him. For one thing, something sinister lurks in the dormitory cupboard, waiting to get out.

Vincent’s tough and smart. He can walk through walls and make a dead tree flower. But to the rest of the world he’s invisible — non-existent. That’s because, in his moment of need, Ben invented him.

At the children’s shelter Ben is mixed in with other children and orphans. Some accept him straight away but a few suspect he may be a little crazy, especially when he keeps talking to his invisible friend Vincent. While the children struggle with Ben and Vincent’s antics,  I found myself totally believing in him. In fact, by the time I had finished this delightful, creative and imaginative book, I was feeling very motherly and proud of young Vincent and what he had to overcome in order to protect Ben and his companions.

I think we all need a Vincent in our lives.

I do suspect this will find itself on award lists. This is a top-notch book, wonderfully written, with intriguing, believable and lovable characters. With war always in the background of everything the children see and do, this work of fiction offers much more to think about than just an imaginary friend.

I do think this would be an ideal read-aloud and perfect for book clubs.

Front lines

By Michael Grant

ISBN 9780062342157

 

5

This is one book I am particularly eager to read. Strong female characters in the military and a solid storyline make this so appealing. It is the first in a new series by Michael Grant where he has re-imagined World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

“A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families to go to war.These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known”

Check out this very cool trailer.

Stay where you are & then leave
By John Boyne

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I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book from the Random House Road Show and being a fan of John Boyne’s work I devoured this. I recall when John Boyne was here in Christchurch some years ago to promote his book The boy in striped pyjamas that when I lined up to get my copy signed, I told him how cross I was at such a tragic ending. We discussed it briefly (the line was long) and I know there could not have been any other ending. The point of war is tragic.
Boyne makes a similar point in his latest novel but on a different level. Here, five year old Alfie knows there is a war. His father, after all has signed up willingly to fight and is on a secret mission hence the lack of contact. Letters arrived from his father in the trenches when war first started but then they stopped. War was supposed to be over by Christmas but no-one ever said “which Christmas”. Four years on and war is still going but still no letters. A sequence of coincidences prove too much for Alfie and he begins his own journey to find out about his father.
This is a moving, poignant tale of war and its impact on family life. Boyne weaves in different points of view from the people living in Damley Road where Alfie Summerfield lives. This book moves along subtley and then hits you with a punch that leaves you thinking about Alfie and his family, long after you have finished reading.
Oliver Jeffers has done a brilliant job on the cover of this book. So real in a retro way. Love it!

On two feet and wings
By Abbas Kazerooni

Kids and war should not mix but the reality is that they do. For some children life is based on a daily struggle just to survive. If you have read any of the Parvana books by Deborah Ellis or any of Morris Gleiztman books about Felix then this is for you too. Set during the Iran-Iraq War, nine year old Abbas has to leave his family and friends to escape Tehran. War is at its worst and if he does not escape now then very soon he will be enlisted to fight. He arrives in Istanbul where struggle continues. Courage is what he needs but how will he find it when he is all alone?

Private Peaceful
By Michael Morpurgo

Anyone who knows me, knows that my all time favourite author is Michael Morpurgo. His books are powerful and always very moving. He came out to New Zealand a few years ago and thundered out on to the stage, his voice booming and suddenly hundreds of students, teachers and librarians were in awe of this wonderful story teller.
This trailer is actually for the movie of his very popular book Private Peaceful. Those of you in the UK will get to see this way before we will here in New Zealand so I will be waiting to hear how it goes. If you haven’t read any of his books then I urge you to do so.
Private Peaceful is about two brothers out on the battle field trying to survive in World War 1. It is a story of love and loss and the horrors of war. I can not wait to see this movie.

Code name Verity
By Elizabeth Wein

I am so looking forward to getting this book from the library. No vampires or fantasy, no dystopia but instead, a good solid read set during World War II. Two best friends (young women) are separated. One is left to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is then captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war.
“Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they’ve ever believed in is put to the test… ”

This trailer is perfect. The music, the colours, the whole format has wonderful appeal. The story is intriguing and I do confess to enjoying gritty realistic war stories.