This was a lovely story that is perfect for those in middle school as they can learn about parental abuse and the notion that being handicapped made one the product of the devil. When one wonders how a war could save lives in the case of Ava, a handicapped young girl and her brother Jamie, meeting their caregiver and recognizing the good of an adult is the telling concept.
“And even if it felt like Mam hated me, she had to love me, didn’t she? She had to love me, because she was my mam, and Susan was just somebody who got stuck taking care of Jamie and me because of the war.”
Poor Ava, mistreated horribly by her mother because of a club foot and because her mother was a horrible person, steals away with her brother, Jamie when he is called upon to leave London as the war had started and children were leaving for the countryside where it was believed they would be safe. They come in contact with a woman name Susan and through her Ava learns of the goodness of people and how it feels to be loved and cared for. Susan on her part didn’t at first care for the fact these two urchins wound up in her care, but care she did and eventually she, too, realizes what her life has been missing, the love of another.
“I don’t want to just survive”
It’s a wonderful story appropriate for children who are at the middle school level and a fine way to learn of an actual event that occurred during the onset of World War 2. Love does not need to be parental in order for it to be love. It can come from unexpected sources especially for children who never knew the warmth of that emotion.