February 21, 2020

Keep Calm and Carry On Children by Sharon Mayhew

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:18 pm by suebe2

Keep Calm and Carry On Children
by Sharon Mayhew
Black Rose Writing

A while back, I won a copy of this book in a drawing complete with a variety of British snacks to accompany my reading experience.  That’s ironic, snacks to munch on while reading about rationing and the like.

I’ve read a number of books about Britain during World War II and the bombings that took such a heavy toll on London.  But this story is told from the perspective of eleven year-old Joyce.  Through her eyes, I saw just how many assumptions I had made.  My first?  I pictured commercial bomb shelters, government built shelters for neighborhoods and metro tunnels.  I hadn’t realized that numerous people sheltered in what were essentially trenches with a piece of sheet metal over the top.

After their neighbor’s shelter fails to keep him safe, Joyce and her younger sister are sent away as part of operation Pied Piper.  Trains were filled with children and sent into the countryside for the duration of the war.  My second assumption?  I thought that there would be homes lined up for the children.  I didn’t realize that once they got off the train, they were told to walk along the road until someone picked them out.

Keep Calm and Carry On Children tells of the situation in London as well as the lives that many children faced once the evacuated.  Some were used as laborers.  Others found loving families.  And many of these children brought comfort to the families who took them in.

Sharon’s story was inspired by her grandfather’s tales of being evacuated to the countryside.  The details that she includes in her story, both those gleaned from her grandfather and those she found in her research, bring this world to life for her readers.  Readers will also be inspired by Joyce because although she was frightened she kept an eye not only on her sister but also on other children on the train.

The story is realistic without being gory and will bring history to life for Sharon’s readers.


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