Anna at war by Helen Peters
Nosy Crow, 2019. ISBN: 9781788004718.
(Age 8-12) Recommended. Anna at war will introduce young readers to the reality of war, of being a refugee and to some of the evils perpetuated in WWII. The storyline is engaging, from the horrors of Kristallnacht, to the aching sadness of family separation, with a dash of adventure, terror and courage whilst displaying the enduring power of kindness.
Helen Peters has researched her topic extensively and also demonstrates a deep understanding of children's interactions with each other and the adults around them. The result is a very readable book that draws the reader immediately into Anna's story, as she relates it to her grandson for his school assignment. Anna journeys from Germany to England on one of the Kindertransport trains and is fortunate to be fostered by a kind and caring family, only to be faced with a terrifying situation in her new home. The book could be a good introduction to a child who knows little of the impact and realities of war or promote a deeper understanding for those who have already read in this area. Despite the grimness of the subject matter it is a surprisingly gentle read.
The book, dedicated 'For all the children who have had to leave their homes and make new lives in other places' will be a useful tool in helping children understand the confusion, dilemmas and challenges that face the refugees and victims of war that they will meet.