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Archive for the ‘War and peace’ Category

The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne

large_pyjamas_UK_19 year old Bruno lives in Berlin with his parents and 12 year old sister. His world is turned upside down when he is told that the family is moving from his beautiful home, away from his friends, to a strange place he calls “Out-With”, where a very important man called “The Fury” has sent his father to be in charge. Bruno dislikes Out-With and is very lonely, he can see from his bedroom window that there are lots of people living behind a big wire fence beyond his new home, and wonders why he can’t play with the children there.
He sets off exploring one day and encounters a boy sitting just within the wire fence, they strike up a conversation and begin a beautifully naïve and moving friendship that continues until Bruno makes the innocent but heartbreakingly tragic decision to join his friend on the other side of the fence.

John Boyne

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Once – Morris Gleitzman

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

Everybody deserves to have something good in their life.

At least once.

Pig City – Louis Sachar

Laura Sibbie is trying to find the perfect ‘pigs’ for her new club, Pig City: classmates who can keep the biggest secret ever! To make sure that none of them tells anyone else about the club, each one must give an ‘insurance’ – something totally embarrassing – to be hidden unless they break the most important law of Pig City.

 

Good Reads

Bloomsbury

I had seen castles – Cynthia Rylant

John Dante is so enmeshed in WW II’s patriotic fever that he can hardly wait for his 18th birthday, in 1942, to enlist. Meanwhile, his sister, stricken with empathy and concern, is engaged to two soldiers and pregnant by a third; Dad, a nuclear physicist, is called from Pittsburgh to California for secret research; and John falls sweetly, ardently in love with pretty Ginny, who urges him to become a conscientious objector. To John, her fervent pacifism is incomprehensible; but as he endures active combat, without relief, until 1945, stereotypes give way to the reality of the enemy’s humanity, and Ginny’s ideas become clear. Still, after his long immersion in horror, John never communicates with her again-until a message at the end of this novel, narrated in 1992 when he’s a retired professor in Canada: “I want you to know that I am really alive. And I still love you.” Yet John has not been “alive” as he might have been: a lifelong solitary, he was even driven from his home by the war (“I could not stay in America because America had not suffered”). Rylant depicts-with some irony and much insight and compassion-the tragedy of young men putting aside their true selves and fighting in a war in which they ultimately lose faith.

Amazon
Fantastic Fiction

The book thief – Marcus Zusack

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel’s father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word ? Kommunist ? and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother’s eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

Macmillan
readnowsleeplater

The Book Thief (movie)

Anne Frank: the diary of a young girl – Anne Frank

Anne Frank, her parents, sister, another family, and an older gentleman were Jews in the Netherlands during the German occupation of World War II. These eight people hid in a secret alcove above a factory. Anne had a friend who listened to all her thoughts during the next two years. “Kitty” was her diary.

The Franks had lived in Germany. As the anti-Semitism sentiment took hold in that country, he and his wife left everything and moved their daughters to the Netherlands. In a few years they were not safe there, either. Finally, after Mr. Frank was called to report to the Germans, they went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe”. The Von Daan family joined them since the two men were business partners, and later, they included a dentist, Mr. Deusel.

Anne’s parents gave her Kitty on her birthday in 1942. Anne started writing in it very quickly, and took Kitty very seriously. They still were out in their home at the time, and the first group of entries deal with Anne’s private thoughts over school and her social life. The boys who were in love with her were discussed and described, as well as her reactions. Soon after her birthday, though, the family went into hiding. They stayed in the “Secret Annexe” over two years before they were found and arrested by the Germans. Of the eight residents, only Mr. Frank survived the concentration camps.

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