Editor's note: This is one of four books by local authors that shares a perspective of World War II.
"BRITISH WAR CHILDREN," by J.A. Matern, Wild Poppy Publishing, $12.99, e-book $7.99, 217 pages (f) (ages 8-11)
Matthew and his friends live in London during World War II. When a bomb hits their school, injuring many children, Matthew’s mother makes the difficult decision to send her children away to live in the country with their aunt. Matthew, his two siblings, his best friend Kate, and their trusty dog find country life disconcerting at first. However, they soon make friends with schoolmates and adjust to their new village.
With a lively aunt, the neighbors’ pet pig and caves waiting to be explored, the four children try to forget the dangerous environment they left behind. But the war keeps intruding into their new-found peace and happiness. Their military fathers are injured or captured; and bombing continues in London, where their mothers still live and work. The war-displaced children continually worry about the danger their parents are in.
But soon they realize that adults are not the only ones who must deal with the hazards of war. One day a danger comes closer than the children, or their families, ever thought possible. The four are faced with a decision that could cost them their lives and the safety of their new home.
J.A. Matern writes a delightful novel for elementary-age children. Her writing is easy to read and can captivate readers from its first pages. Also a good book to read together as a family, this novel champions family and courage, while teaching about life in England during World War II.
“British War Children” has clean language and very little violence. The book contains some harrowing moments, but the adrenaline-filled scenes are exciting, rather than too violent, for young readers. The dangers of World War II are dealt with truthfully but in a gentle manner that will not give children nightmares.
Matern is from the United Kingdom but currently resides in Utah with her husband and family.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.