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The Second World War

Saving Rafael
by Leslie Wilson
(Andersen Press) 1842709186
This is the story of the growing love between two teenagers - Jenny and Rafael. But they both live in Nazi-ruled Berlin and Rafael is a Jew so their relationship breaks the rules. Beautifully written from Jenny's viewpoint, this gripping book paints a vivid picture of life for ordinary Germans during the Second World War and the allied bombardment.
  Jenny and Rafael eventually make love - a realistic response in a situation where they could be separated forever at any moment. This is handled very sensitively, including the need for contraception, but means the book is not suitable for younger readers. 13+
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My Secret War Diary by Flossie Albright
Really by Marcia Williams
(Walker Books)
Most books for children about World War II concentrate on life in the blitz or as an evacuee so it’s refreshing to find this diary of an ordinary country girl. I certainly had under estimated the impact the war had on the life of children away from the bombing, and the way the continuing hostilities wore down their ability to cope.
    The diary spans the whole war from beginning to end, and takes Flossie from a 9 year old struggling to bring up her baby brother without a mother to a 15 year old with ambitions to be a nurse. The presentation is excellent with text that looks hand written interspersed with childishly hand-drawn illustrations, news cuttings and photos. To add extra interest, there are also postcards and letters which open out for reading. The whole book provides a fascina+ting look at the social history of the period and is fun to dip into or to read from cover to cover.
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Johnnie's Blitz
by Bernard Ashley
(Barn Owl Books)
London is being pounded by bombs, but that's only one of Johnnie's problems. With his mum dead and his dad away in the army, there's no one to help him when he's wrongly accused of theft. So Johnnie's on the run from the police when he meets 3 year old Shirley - a toddler lost and alone after her home has a direct hit - and he has to make some difficult decisions. This fast moving novel keeps you turning the pages and provides a vivid picture of life during the blitz. Gritty and realistic, it doesn't pull any punches about how tough life was then.
Ages 10+
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Goodnight, Mister Tom
by Michelle Magorian
(Puffin Books)
Tom Oakley is old and lonely - a man who keeps himself to himself. But when Britain goes to war, he is forced take in an evacuee, a pale, frightened boy called William Beech. This gives Willie a new beginning free from abuse and Tom a new person to love after the loss of his own wife and child. But then Willie's mentally ill mother summons him home and Tom must make a decision that will change both of their lives forever. This strong story is set against the background of World War Two and shows vividly the pain and disruption this caused to ordinary people as well as the impact of physicial abuse on a child.
Ages 10 upwards
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