Many children, including myself when I was at school, have a fascination with stories written about children during the war. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian was my class reader in year six which is imprinted on my mind. I also thoroughly enjoyed the film which does do it justice, although William’s mum was terrifying!
I’ve just been reflecting on some of the war stories that my pupils and I have read over this term and thought I would share our favourites.
We read this as a class reader. The children all fell in love with the naive Felix, a Jewish boy living in a polish orphanage. All he wants to do is find his parents. A book for the mature and sensitive primary reader, as is another favourite, The Boy in the Striped Pjamas by John Boyne.
Many of the girls picked up A diary of a young girl (Anne Frank’s diary) and found the diary layout an accessible read. Renoundly known as one of the most famous diaries ever written, it is an interesting from a historical perspective but it also discusses issues that arise when a girls grow up, mainly arguing with parents and having mixed feelings about boys…
BBC mini TV series The Diary of Anne Frank with Tamsin Grieg, Ellen Kendrick and Iain Glen I thought was particularly good, grasping the harrowing and harsh reality of what hiding from the Nazis was like for so many. Seeing the confined spaces really brought it home. Some of this is available to watch on YouTube.