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Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker.
New York : Dial Books, 2015
IL 3-6. RL 3.9
ISBN 0803740816

(8 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

From the moment you meet Ada, the main character, you are going to not want to let her go. She’s imperfect, impertinent, smart, and strong. Ada lives with her younger brother Jamie and flat out evil mother in a tiny London flat on the eve of World War II. Ada has a club foot. She’s never walked, and she’s never left the apartment. Her mother shames her and punishes her in deplorable ways. Jamie is Ada’s only lifeline to the world, and when Ada hears that Jamie will be evacuated to the countryside due to the impending bombings, she secretly teaches herself to walk, and very painfully escapes with Jamie in the evacuation. What happens to Ada, and Jamie, and Susan, the woman who has to care for them, is transformative both for the characters and every reader who meets these characters. This book will have you thinking about Ada long after it ends, waiting impatiently for the sequel to be able to spend more time with her.  (Booktalk by the NH Great Stone Face Committee)

Booktalk #2

Ten-year-old Ada was born with a club foot and her abusive, financially struggling mother has kept her isolated all her life. The evacuation of London children during World War II gives Ada and her little brother, Jamie, a chance to escape their grim life. The two end up in a small village at the home of a woman named Susan Smith. As Ada, Jamie, and Susan adjust, it becomes clear that Ada, despite many seemingly idyllic elements of her new life, feels immense anger and grief over a mother who could not love her. Susan, too, is grieving—her former housemate died the year before and though it’s never stated, it’s clear the two women were a couple. Susan is also figuring out parenting and caretaking, tasks made more difficult by the children’s abusive history and the temporary nature of the arrangement. A nearby RAF airfield, the evacuation of Dunkirk, and the bombing of London all come into play in a story that also offers honesty regarding the hard truths of war but is ultimately full of the hope that comes with kindness and connection. (Vermont DCF Book Award 2017)

Booktalk #3

Ten-year-old Ada is not allowed out of the dirty apartment that she lives in with her mother and little brother Jamie. She has to watch Jamie go out and play without her, because her mother is ashamed of her deformity. As World War II gets underway London’s children are sent to the country to escape the fear of bombings. When Ada learns that Jamie, the only person she cares about, will be sent away without her she makes her escape. Ada and Jamie find a reluctant host in Susan and begin to learn a new way of life. Susan grows to care for the children and helps Ada learn to read and gets crutches for Ada so that she can walk and she learns to ride a pony. She enjoys the freedom of riding through the countryside and she discovers something that makes her the town hero. Bombings begin to happen in the countryside that threaten Ada and Jamie’s newfound security with Susan. Will they have to return to the city and their mother’s bitter abuse? Will they survive the bombings and be able to keep their new family together? Will Britain survive?  (Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award 2017-2018)

Booktalk #4

After evacuating World War II London with her younger brother, Jamie, Ada challenges the belief she will only ever be a cripple and creates a new life for herself.  But, will her mother ruin the new life Ada has worked so hard to create? Imagine you are 10 years old.  You have never left your house or learned how to read and write or even walk!  This is Ada’s world.  She’s been stuck inside her apartment her whole life because her mother doesn’t want anyone to know Ada has a twisted foot.  Ada secretly teaches herself to walk and sneaks out with her younger brother Jamie when he’s evacuated from World War II London.  Ada and Jamie are placed with Miss Susan Smith, an unlikely guardian who has troubles of her own.  Susan, Ada, and Jamie form a makeshift family.  Ada begins to develop some independence- learning to read, riding a horse, keeping an eye out for German spies lurking in the English countryside.  Just as Ada is discovering herself, will her new found world fall apart?   (Oklahoma Children’s Sequoyah 2018)

Booktalk #5

At the age of nine, Ada has never learned to walk and has never left her London apartment.  Her twisted foot embarrasses her mother, and she is too ashamed to let her be seen.  Her brother Jamie, however, attends school and is loved by their mother.  When WWII begins, their mother wants to send Jamie to the countryside to keep him safe.  Ada decides that she will learn to walk in secret and escape with her brother rather than staying with their cruel mother. The children are taken in by Susan Smith, who ends up being kind and trustworthy, so what will happen when the war ends and they are expected to return to the mother who doesn’t want them? Find out by reading Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s novel The War That Saved My Life.  (Oklahoma Intermediate Sequoyah Award, 2018)

Booktalk #6

Born with a club foot, nine-year-old Ada is locked in a room and can only gaze out the window at her younger brother playing with his friends in the London streets. Fears about bombs dropping, children are sent to the countryside to keep them safe. Together they join lonely, recluse Mrs. Smith, the only one to volunteer to take care of them. Ada cannot always read her benefactor’s intentions, but she learns to trust, just as she learns to ride a horse named Butter. From victor to victorious, especially after the battle of Dunkirk, this is a story of one girl’s courage. (Sunshine State Young Readers Award Books 2017-2018)

Booktalk #7

Born with a twisted foot, Ada has never been allowed to leave her small London apartment. As the threat of bombs looms over London during World War II, Ada and her little brother Jamie escape to the countryside. Ada's world opens up as she gains confidence and learns to trust those around her... but is trust enough to keep her family safe? (Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award nominee, 2018)

Booktalk #8

World War II is the backdrop for this coming-of-age story.  Ada, who was born with a club foot, runs off with her younger brother, Jamie, to escape her abusive mother.  They are taken in by Susan Smith as part of the war effort to evacuate children from London.  Although Susan made clear that she did not feel she could take care of the children, Ada and Jamie learn to experience love and happiness and find confidence within themselves.  (Garden State Children's Book Awards, 2018)

SUBJECTS:   World War, 1939-1945 -- Evacuation of civilians -- Fiction.
                        People with disabilities -- Fiction.
                        Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        Great Britain -- History -- George VI, 1936-1952 -- Fiction.

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