Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

My Side of the Story: Escape from War

My Side of the Story: Escape from War

James Riordan
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Houghton Mifflin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0753457948

When war breaks out Frank cannot help being excited. There is so much to see and adventures to be had. Then Frank sees what the bombing raids on London are doing to his city; he learns that people he knew have been killed by the falling bombs and the war starts to seem a lot less glamorous. When his mother decides that Frank and his sister need to evacuated to the country, the children are very distressed but there is nothing that they can do to change their mother’s mind and they are packed off to a farm in the south of England.

On the farm Frank and Violet meet another child, Hannah. Hannah is very different from them - very proud and not in the least bit friendly. What is it about Hannah that makes her special? It is only when things get really bad that Frank learns about Hannah’s dreadful, terrifying past. He learns that Hannah’s parents were killed by the Nazi’s in Germany, and that Hannah is alone in the world. More and more Frank comes to appreciate how terrible war is for everyone, civilians and soldiers alike.

After you read Frank’s story you can turn the book around and read about Hannah and what happened to her. It is fascinating to discover how differently Frank and Hannah see the same things, to hear their very different ‘voices,’ and to see their worlds. For Hannah finding an injured German pilot is horrific for he is one of the people who destroyed her family. For Frank it is an exciting event to tell his friends about later.

An old hand at writing captivating historical fiction, James Riordan has once again created a book which will give the reader cause to think.