The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Posted by Sarah Wilson on 4/19/2021
The War That Saved My Life is a middle grade historical fiction novel. The setting is in and around London, England during World War II. The English evacuated children from large cities, sending them by train to the countryside to live with friends, relatives, and even strangers. If you have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the Pevensie children are evacuated from London to the country in preparation for the Nazis bombing England.
Imagine being in elementary school, packing your bag, saying goodbye to your parents, and being shipped off to live with someone you don’t know. Meet Ada. Ada doesn’t know her age, but guesses she is between 9 and 11 years old. She has never been allowed to go outside or leave her apartment. She is allowed to look out of the window when she isn’t taking care of her younger brother, Jamie, and her abusive mother. When Ada makes mistakes or asks too many questions, her mother locks her in the cupboard under the sink which is inhabited by spiders, cockroaches, and rats.
Jamie comes home from school and shares with Ada that children will be taking the train out of London soon. Without their mother’s knowledge, the two prepare to join the evacuating children while their mother is at work. But first, Ada must learn how to walk. She was born with a clubfoot. Her mother never allowed her to have an operation that would fix her foot or provided her with crutches to get around.
Jamie and Ada’s new life begins in the county with Susan. The children are cared for and live a life completely opposite of the one they knew. Ada is allowed to go outside and learns to ride a pony. She discovers that she is useful and marvels at everything around her. Then, the Nazis begin to bomb the airfield near her foster home and eventually her mom comes to reclaim Ada and her brother.
If you love historical fiction, novels with happy endings, and incredible characters, you must read The War That Saved My Life. This is one of my favorite books this school year. Bonus: it is a Newberry Honor Book and has won many other literary awards.