|War that saved my life|
Author: Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker
A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 170995
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 65413
Newbery Honor, 2016
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Integration of Knowledge & Ideas
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (+) (10/15/14)
School Library Journal (11/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/15)
The Hornbook (+) (00/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 11/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Bradley turns her keen historical eye from Monticello (Jefferson's Sons, Penguin, 2011) to the British home front during World War II. Ada isn't exactly sure how old she is; for as long as she can remember, she's been a virtual prisoner in her mother's third floor one-room apartment. She was born with a clubfoot and her mother uses her disability as an excuse to abuse her both emotionally and physically. Ada watches the world through the narrow confines of the apartment window, waves to neighbors in the street, and carefully gauges the danger of being beaten during each encounter with her hateful mother. She envies the freedom of her little brother, Jamie, who goes to school and generally roves the neighborhood at will. When her mother prepares to ship Jamie out to the countryside with other children being evacuated from London, Ada sneaks out with him. When the two fail to be chosen by any villagers, the woman in charge forces Susan Smith, a recluse, to take them in. Though Susan is reluctant and insists that she knows nothing about caring for children, she does so diligently and is baffled by the girl's fearful flinching anytime Ada makes a mistake. Though uneducated, Ada is intensely observant and quick to learn. Readers will ache for her as she misreads cues and pushes Susan away even though she yearns to be enfolded in a hug. There is much to like here-Ada's engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive exhibited by Ada and the villagers who grow to love and accept her.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2014 When word starts to spread about Germans bombing London, Ada’s mother decides to send her little brother, Jamie, to the country. Not 11-year-old Ada, though—she was born with a crippling clubfoot, and her cruel mother treats her like a slave. But Ada has painfully taught herself to walk, so when Jaime departs for the train, she limps along with him. In Kent, they’re assigned to crotchety Susan, who lives alone and suffers from bouts of depression. But the three warm to each other: Susan takes care of them in a loving (if a bit prickly) way, and Ada finds a sense of purpose and freedom of movement, thanks to Susan’s pony, Butter. Ada finally feels worthy of love and respect, but when looming bombing campaigns threaten to take them away from Susan, her strength and resolve are tested. The home-front realities of WWII, as well as Ada’s realistic anger and fear, come to life in Bradley’s affecting and austerely told story, and readers will cheer for steadfast Ada as she triumphs over despair. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 Ten-year-old Ada has never been outside her tiny, dirty London flat, due to her clubfoot; her abusive mother is so shamed by it that she won’t let Ada be seen in public. Six-year-old Jamie, Ada’s brother, goes out, though, and it’s through him that Ada learns about the pending evacuation of the local London kids before the war with Germany begins. Mam has no intention of sending Ada away (“Who’d want you? Nobody, that’s who”) but Ada (who has secretly been practicing walking in the flat) and Jamie escape to the evacuation train. Their countryside host, Susan Smith, suffers from depression over the loss of her best friend and housemate and initially greets the children with reluctance, but she feeds and clothes them and gradually begins to care for them. Warped by ten years of abuse and believing herself to be “rubbish,” Ada is similarly wary of Susan, resisting both her kindness and her suggestions that Ada’s clubfoot can be at least partially healed (“I wanted Mam to be like Susan. I didn’t trust Susan not to be like Mam”). The irresistible lure for Ada isn’t human but animal: she warms up to Butter, the fat pony in Susan’s field, and through Butter she gradually makes some human friends in her new home. Eventually Ada overcomes much of her mental anguish (though nights in the Anderson shelter send her into panic attacks, as the space reminds her of the roach-infested cupboard in which Mam used to lock her), even becoming a village hero after discovering a German spy. She suspects it’s all too good to be true, though, and she’s proven right when Mam, perturbed at being told she’s supposed to pay for Susan’s care, shows up to take Ada and Jamie back to London. Ada has come too far and become too strong to regress now, however, and despite the bombing of their London neighborhood and Susan’s home, the children and Susan finally find their happy ending. Skillful, smooth writing and taut pacing enable Bradley’s compelling plot to take center stage, and Ada’s tough journey from brokenness to healing is poignantly credible in its development and emotionally satisfying in its outcome. Characterization is sympathetic and authentic: Ada’s limited exposure to the outside world, her poverty, and her disability believably make her bewildered and angry as she encounters many overwhelming new experiences. Susan too is effectively portrayed; refreshingly, she’s no saint but a realistic woman trying to do the right thing despite having her own sadness and shortcomings to overcome. The feel-good appeal of the rescue fantasy combines with the increasingly tense World War II backdrop to make this an effective page-turner. The book successfully evokes the very real fear that gripped coastal villages such as Susan’s in the face of what seemed like imminent invasion, and the horrors of warfare are clearly communicated through Ada’s narration as she witnesses the arrival of soldier survivors of Dunkirk and experiences air raids and bombings. While there is no author’s note to explain or elaborate, children with access to the internet, a library, and/or a knowledgeable adult will easily be able to fill any gaps. Ada’s unique perspective on her world, her disability, and her danger-filled time period may particularly resonate with kids who have faced their own hardships, while giving more fortunate youth fresh insights and plenty to think about and discuss. Lovers of historical and personal dramas, and fans of Michelle Magorian’s similarly themed Goodnight, Mr. Tom (BCCB 3/82), or of Nina Bawden’s or Robert Westall’s World War II–era novels, will also find much to love here. (See p. 349 for publication information.) Jeannette Hulick, Reviewer - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.