A collection of good reads on childrenwar

The Book thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Death is incredibly busy with the business of collecting souls. After all, it is the middle of World War II, one of the bloodiest times in human history. However, Death makes time to tell us a story: one, about a little girl he calls the book thief. Set against the horrors of Nazi Germany, the story centres around Liesel Meminger, a poor German girl. Separated from her family, Liesel is sent to live with her foster parents near Munich. She is barely literate, but craves to be able to read the written word.

When she arrives in the town of Molching, she is teased in school, has to deal with her harsh foster mother and suffers from terrible nightmares. Her gentle foster father, who recognises her hunger for words, teaches her to read and write. Her fascination with books sees her life entwined with the mayor’s wife and Max, a Jew who hides in her basement. Since its first publication, the book has won over a dozen prestigious awards and a film based on it will release later this year.

War Horse

Author: Michael Morpurgo

War does terrible things to people. It calls upon thousands of innocent people to fight for reasons they may not agree with. However, they may understand the purpose of war. But what about an animal that’s drawn into a conflict between humans? This book tells the tale of a boy named Albert whose father buys a young stallion. Joey, as he is called, is temperamental, but Albert tames him and cares for him.

When World War I breaks out soon after, there is a great demand for fit horses. Against Albert’s will, his father sells Joey to the British Army. The stallion is transported to France to fight along the frontline.

Meanwhile, Albert enlists with the British Army's veterinary service in a quest to find his horse again. Over the course of the war, Joey makes new friends with soldiers and civilians, including a sickly young girl named Emilie, who loves horses. He sees great destruction, experiences the cruelty of losing loved ones over and over and finally finds relief when the war ends. Published in 1982, this highly acclaimed book has been adapted into a play. A movie of the same name was released in 2011 and was nominated for many awards.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Planes

Author: Eleanor Coerr

This is based on a true story of a girl named Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Japan during the Hiroshima bombings. Sadako was only two years old when the atomic bombs were dropped by the United States. She recollects the chaos that followed the 'lightning'. As she grows up, she hopes to be a great athlete. In fact, she is the star of her school athletic team until she starts getting dizzy spells.

When Sadako goes for a consultation, she is diagnosed with leukemia, which is due to her exposure to radiation at the time of the bombing. In the hospital, enduring great pain and suffering, she hears of an ancient legend.

If a sick person were to make a thousand cranes, God would make him/her better. From then, on she starts folding paper to make paper cranes, never giving up hope as she has a strong desire to live. Does she complete the thousand paper cranes before it's too late? Read on to find out.

Courtesy: Book Lovers Program for Schools (blps.in)

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