This Month's Featured Resources...

Father's DayTravel - CookingLatin WW2

Tuesday, October 10

The War I Finally Won.....

Living books are a fabulous way to learn about history.  We have long been fans of this Charlotte Mason style of learning, using the We Were There series as one of our curriculum bases for several years.  It's not the only series we use, however.  

We like to keep a running list of which living books we're currently using (feel free to download it here).  These books, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, are World War II themed, and she's just added to her series, beginning with The War that Saved My Life....

Some of our other favorite WWII Resources...

The War that Saved My Life (Kimberly Brubaker Bradley)
Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.  So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Our Thoughts
Written for children aged 9-12, but immensely satisfying for children and adults of all ages, this book is reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables, but set in WWII.  It's a story of strength and hope, of never giving up in spite of some pretty dire circumstances.  Like most evacuees, Ada has family and trust issues, but they are compounded by her physical deformities and her inability to connect because of those.  As you can imagine, she struggles through and comes out the other side even stronger than she ever thought.  You don't have to read this story prior to the sequel, as they are both stand-alone, but it makes for a more satisfying connection if you read them in order.

The War I Finally Won (Kimberly Brubaker Bradley)
When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. What is she?  World War II continues, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed cottage on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton—along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of the war become far more frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex. Who is Ada now? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?  Ada’s first story, The War that Saved My Life (see below), won a Newbery Honor, the Schneider Family Book Award, and the Josette Frank Award, in addition to appearing on multiple best-of-the-year lists. This second, marvelous volume continues Ada’s powerful, uplifting story.

Our Thoughts

Although this book functions well as a stand-alone, you will really enjoy it so much more if you read the first one ahead of time -- it is a fantastic sequel to that set up.  Ada is such a well-developed, lovable, and complex character that you'll feel you're walking right alongside her journey.  It is a story of grief and healing, trust and forgiveness, self-acceptance, and the hardships of the Second World War in Europe.  Just like the nature of both war and adolescence (both are central themes), this book is occasionally confusing and chaotic, but it all falls together beautifully by the story's end.
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