Recommended by Vanessa Jelbert (@Vanrocksss)
Form and genre: Prose, historical fiction, based on true events
Length: 188 pages
Based on a true story, it follows three Polish boys who are among the three hundred children who have arrived in the English Lake District having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.
They’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover after their persecution at the hands of the Nazis. They have been sent to Windermere for a few months, where they find kindness, food, clothing and ways to deal with the grief and trauma.
Age recommendation and challenging content: Through flashbacks the reader is taken through the real harrowing experiences that the boys suffered; being thrown out of their homes and locked in a ghetto, forced onto cattle trucks at gunpoint to be transported to concentration camps and on numerous occasions witnessing Nazi brutality of Jewish people. The flashbacks describe clearly the horror of war, but without gory detail to allow access for children. Ideal for Year 7 and 8.
Notable reasons for recommending this book: It’s not easy for anyone to ever read about what happened with the Holocaust but this book does a good job of introducing this terrible event to children and helping them begin to understand the importance of respect for different cultures, tolerance for others and treating everyone equally, so it’s an excellent way to discuss British values.
There are also some wonderful photos in the book of healthy, athletic looking Holocaust survivors taken during their stay in Windemere.
This book has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2021.
Other useful information: This book is dyslexia friendly, perfect for reluctant readers and ESL students. There is a huge amount of information on the research Tom Palmer did before writing the book, as well as resources and interviews on his website https://tompalmer.co.uk/after-the-war/