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A Child's War



The War That Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Newbery Medal honor book, 2016

While it is true that this is a children’s book, the themes might be difficult for some children.  War, violence, parental neglect and loss are among the subjects in this poignant, wonderfully written tale.  Ada, an eleven-year-old girl, lives with her mother and brother in London before the war.  Desperate and abused, she longs for freedom from a parent who does not love her.  The war offers her a way out when the children are evacuated to the country and she discovers a kinder life.  

This is a journey of discovery and hope at a time when the skies were raining bombs and invasion by the German army was imminent.  In the midst of this chaos, Ada and her brother found the world to be a much larger place than they had originally thought. 

Can you imagine seeing grass, trees, the ocean, animals and vegetables for the first time?  How would you react?  It is as if Helen Keller suddenly gained her eyesight and hearing at age eleven.  Ada’s life becomes a roller coaster of emotions as she comes to terms with her mother’s mistreatment of her.  Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, we find ourselves rooting for this courageous and determined child, while wondering how we would have coped in her place.

If you were looking for a book to read alongside your child, or to read aloud to an older child, this would be a very good choice.  You will surely have to answer a few questions along the way, but it offers the opportunity to broach mature topics, such as war and the resilience of those who must overcome a difficult beginning.

The War That Saved my Life by sonja_library