Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Blitz on Britain, by Brian Williams

Around the 4th grade, children begin to look for facts about life. This is an age of inquiry that can also be a new jumping point for literature in a child’s life. This particular book will provide a story and view of a more recent event. After reading this book, the mature child can be told who in his family might have fought in this war. While the child might not understand all the underlying facets that caused the Second World War, this book will provide a look at what life was like for a people under attack.

Williams traces life during the Blitz, from the beginning to the aftermath, and describes life in the subways, the different occupations that helped the people to hold together and fight the battle in the air above them. He also provides photos of the destruction, as well as the survivors. While the devastation of the Blitz can be clearly seen in many of these photos, Williams does not focus on it. Instead, his writing and descriptions reflect the mindset of the British people under attack: grim, hopeful, and united. A child looking at these pictures will not remember the book for the destruction, but for the amazing accounts of bravery and survival.

One last point also brings this book in high standing: no where are the Germans degraded throughout the book. There is a cartoon from the era depicting Hitler and his cohorts, but the German people themselves are never vilified. I appreciated this aspect, since I am of German descent. A child of German heritage, or British will both agree that the stories of bravery and survival are fascinating, and they will learn about the true history of a people who came together to fight and survive together.

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