Anna at War by Helen Peters Book Review

By Lottie age 10 with a little help

Our topic for this term is the Second World War. I decided to go to the library and choose some books to read from both the non fiction and fiction section, I find this terrible time in history really interesting and I wanted to learn more.

I found Anna at War by Helen Peters and thought it looked really good, my Mum thought so too so we decided to read it together.

It is an amazing book, my Mum even cried within the first few chapters. Helen Peters paints such a clear picture, you get a real feeling of how it must have felt to be a Jewish child in Nazi Germany. The chapter about Kristallnacht has really stayed in my memory. It is so well written, showing children how it must have felt living through that and how terrifying it would be listening to the boots stamping and glass smashing in their own homes.

The book touches on the horror of concentration camps but doesn’t go into a large amount of detail, Anna at the time would have only heard some of the awful things that were happening and would not have yet been aware of all the dreadful things that were going on so, as the story is told from her perspective this is in keeping with the story.

After Kristallnacht, Anna’s father is taken away for some time, when he somehow comes back he is a different man, we aren’t told why he is released from the concentration camp but we see how this shaped his and his wife’s decision that the best thing for their daughter is to send her away.

Anna is to be sent away on the Kindertransport- travelling from Germany to England as a refugee. I loved how brave Anna was. I felt sad for her too though. It was incredibly sad when she said goodbye to her parents not knowing when or if she would see them again but as one of the oldest she soon realises she needs to take charge for the little ones. Anna finds herself with an extra responsibility for the journey too which is a fantastic story in it’s own right and really makes the reader feel like they are travelling along with the children.

Anna is placed with a family in England with two children, she is lucky that they are a lovely family, and whilst they don’ t have much they make her welcome but being a refugee from an enemy country comes with it’s problems where some of her classmates are concerned.

There are some ups and downs, especially between Anna and Molly (the family’s daughter) but an adventure and story of great bravery with some scary parts follows.

The story is an adventure, with a bit of mystery throw in, it is so well written you feel Anna’s emotions as the world around her changes and the homesickness for her beloved parents is locked away in the box in her head. Even so she continues to be incredibly brave.

The suspense builds throughout the book as Anna, Molly and Frank (Molly’s brother) get caught up trying to help an injured soldier who might not be who he seems.

I absolutely loved this book and so did my Mum. It was amazingly written and I learnt so much about that time from a different perspective. I would love to read more books by Helen Peters and have added a copy of Anna at War to my Christmas list so I can read it again once my library copy is returned.

I would recommend Anna at War to children age 9 plus but I think that adults should read this book too.


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