Tonight is Girl Zone Book Club – a group I run for Year Six students and a significant woman in their life – mother, aunt, grandma, older sister, cousin, family friend…even a dad or uncle will do. This Book Club is an opportunity to talk, laugh and learn through a shared love of reading.
Book Clubs help us to…
Connect with others through a shared love of literature
Discuss the big ideas and messages in literature
Personally connect with a story or character
I spoke tonight about the titles below and by popular consent we have chosen to go with ‘The Forgotten Pearl’ as our next read. We will share our thoughts on the book/s in the comments below this post. Please note that some of these books contain mature themes – check suitability for your child. For more books targeted at pre teen and teen readers please see my lists for readers 12 years+ here. For YA books for boys please see here.
‘Let me tell you a story. A story about friendship and sisters, about grief and love and danger, and about growing up . . .’
In ‘The Forgotten Pearl’, present day main character Chloe visits her grandmother, and as they chat a flood of memories is released. Chloe learns just how close the Second World War came to destroying her family. Could the experiences of another time help Chloe to face her own problems?
We then slip to 1941. Poppy lives in Darwin, a peaceful paradise far from the war. But when Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, then Australia, everything Poppy holds dear is threatened – her family, her neighbours, her friends and her beloved pets. Her brother Edward is taken prisoner-of-war. Her home town becomes a war zone, as the Japanese raid over and over again.
Terrified for their lives, Poppy and her mother flee to Sydney, only to find that the danger follows them there. Poppy must face her war with courage and determination. Will her world ever be the same again?
‘The Forgotten Pearl’ has themes of family, friendship, resilience, World War II, differing perspectives of war and of course history and is part of her informal series or collection of historical time-slip books which also includes ‘The River Charm‘, ‘The Locket of Dreams’, ‘The Ruby Talisman’ and ‘The Ivory Rose’. Many of these titles have been shortlisted for various awards, including KOALAs (2013, 2012 and 2011), CBCA Notable List and highly commended in the PM’s Literary Awards.
I also spoke about a book that has been out for a couple of years, ‘The War that Saved My Life‘, which has received much critical and popular acclaim. Now that the sequel has been released, it’s time to highlight it here, as a book that embraces diversity and compassion. ‘The War that Saved My Life‘ written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley originally published in 2015, was released locally last year by Text Publishing.
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?
The follow-up novel is called ‘The War I Finally Won‘, and it’s great to see that the cover matches because this is an important issue for a librarian!
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 – now 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 war are far more intrusive and frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex.