by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, ages 9 – 12, A Newbery Honor book in 2016
This compelling story kept me reading late into the night—partly because awful things happened and partly because I cared so much. When the story begins, in a grim flat in London just as war with Hitler begins, Ada and her brother live with their mother, Mam. Ada has a clubfoot, and Mam won’t let her leave home or even walk with crutches. That seems so cruel!
But when London children are evacuated to the countryside, Ada and her little brother get on the train and have to go live with strangers in a place safe from Hitler’s bombs. In a village in Kent, they are placed with Susan, a cranky woman who does not want children. But Susan, who wrestles with her own demons, provides food, baths, clean sheets, patience, and eventually love. An ill-kept pony, a mangy cat, a nearby airfield, and, yes, bombing by the Germans bring the story to life.
She persisted. She stood up for herself. And she found where she belonged. An inspiring and lovable tale!
Eager to see the sequel, The War I Finally Won, coming in October 2017. More at http://www.kimberlybrubakerbradley.com/