Yesterday, I reviewed Ruth Eastham’s second novel, The Messenger Bird (you can find my review here). Today, I am very pleased to welcome Ruth Eastham to Library Mice as part of her blog tour.
Ruth Eastham was born in Lancashire, England, and trained as a teacher in Cambridge. She has since worked in more than a dozen different schools in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Italy. She likes photography, growing things to eat, second-hand shops and world maps. Currently she lives in an international college with 26 teenagers from 23 different countries just down the corridor. The Memory Cage was her debut novel, and The Messenger Bird is published this month.
To find out more about Ruth, and download free study guides for her two books, you can visit her website here.
My All Time Favourite War Stories
by Ruth Eastham
The Silver Sword
The main character is called Ruth.
She’s tough and compassionate and brave. And as if I needed any more persuading, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier happens to be a superb story as well!
It’s an established classic. Published in 1956 and seemingly permanently fixed in the Amazon Top 10 of children’s fiction – war, The Silver Sword is definitely one of my Top 5 favourite war stories!
Set in the horribly bombed, Nazi-occupied city of Warsaw, it’s exciting, it’s heart wrenching. It’s full of hope, as well as despair. It’s got all the power of that age-old story: a child’s search for a lost parent. Will they find them? Oh, they so have to find them!
Evacuee Carrie is a pretty excellent character as well. As is Hepzibah Green and Albert Sandwich. Nina Bawden’s book was written in 1973, and is another classic in the classroom. For good reason. Along with the rich characters, it’s about breaking down prejudice; it’s about tolerance and trust and love.
Goodnight Mr Tom
And on the subject of evacuees, what about Michelle Magorian’s classic Goodnight Mister Tom, published in 1981? Abused by his religious extremist mother, the damaged and unhappy William, finds compassion and caring from the elderly Mr Tom and slowly starts to trust those around him. In turn, the reclusive Mr Tom, is drawn out from his own deep, private grief. Just plain beautiful. And harrowing too, because this is a book that tackles death as well as child abuse. But for me it’s a story with daring and heart and so much life.
I couldn’t NOT have a Robert Westall on my Top Five list!
I’ve gone for the 1989-published Blitzcat, because I love it and it’s got a part with the Coventry Blitz, the same historical backdrop as my book, The Messenger Bird. Besides that, the feline Lord Gort is another totally engaging female character! It’s about one cat’s journey through war-torn Britain and beyond to re-find her “special person”. On the way she brings warning and comfort as she passes through people’s lives. It’s an extremely moving story in many more ways than one, and the writer doesn’t shrink from touching on grown-up themes either.
Friend or Foe
The hard thing with my hero, Mr Morpurgo, is choosing just one of his many great war stories. Did you know that War Horse was first published 30 years ago?!
I’ve decided to go back even further and choose Friend or Foe from 1977.
Evacuees again (see how flowingly rich that storytelling vein is!). This time, David and Tucky. A German plane crashes, and it’s obvious that the boys have to tell the authorities where the two pilots are hiding, right?
But what should they do now that one of the men has saved David’s life?!
For me this is a book where Mr M. explores the moral dilemmas of war, in his usual compelling and deftly beautiful style.
Thanks so much for having me, Library Mice
And for those of you collecting letters for Ruth’s mystery message competition (you can find more information about it here)
MYSTERY LETTER NUMBER 7 = D
You can find Ruth Eastham on Facebook and Twitter.
Many thanks to Ruth for such a great post. I have never heard of Friend or Foe, so one to look out for for me!