by Ian Serraillier
This is a wonderful old book sharing the lives of three children whose lives are disrupted by World War II. Their father and mother are arrested and interned, leaving the children on their own. Though their lives are difficult, the book doesn't dwell on the fear and dreariness as much as more modern books seem to do. Along the way, they are helped now and then by soldiers from various armies and a kind German farmer and his wife.
As the war comes to a close, Ruth, the eldest, adopts a vagabond child who has met her father and knows he has gone to Switzerland where their grandparents live. They begin a trek across the war-ravaged and Allied-occupied land to recover their brother from a work camp and walk to Switzerland.
This book doesn't hide the struggles of those who suffered and survived the war, but it focuses instead on courage and the healing power of love and family. The children and their parents suffer terribly in the war and at the hands of the Germans, but their journey at the end reveals the hope of forgiveness and compassion.
This is one of the many recommended books in the Level 4 history program at Mater Amabilis™and, after much deliberation, I have finally found one I can definitely recommend to First Son. My plan is to offer him a few choices for the supplemental reading during World War II, and this will be one of them.