The book blurb reads:
Sunday 23 August 1942 is an important day for Yuri Grossman. It is his fourteenth birthday and also the day that the Nazis began their carpet-bombing campaign of Stalingrad, which continued every day for the next two weeks. Facing overwhelming odds, it will take all his determination and wits to survive.
It's taken us a while to read and review this book, it's a tricky one to define. The story focuses on the German invasion of Stalingrad, detailing the lives of the people who lived in the city and the stories of those who were sent to fight there. As opposed to one main protagonist there are a number of main characters in the book and the chapters interweave between different plots that each relate to the overall story. Some of the characters have many chapters, whilst some have just one, We really enjoyed getting to experience the reality of the war from different viewpoints, it painted a vivid and haunting picture of Stalingrad during the War.
Much of plot includes historically and factually correct information, which really made us think about elements of the First World War that we had never given much though to before. Children who enjoy history and are very factual will find that there is a lot for them to take and learn from this book. The recommended reading age for this book is age 10 plus. and we would encourage parents to exercise caution with this rating. Certain children will find this book upsetting and a little too bleak, the author doesn't leave you with a perfect happy ending.
In summary, some children will enjoy this book and they will learn a lot from it, but in our opinion most ten year olds shouldn't read this at bedtime. Where we see this book flourishing, would be in a classroom situation, where group discussion and the learning opportunities presented by this story could really be harnessed. Thank you to O'Brien Press for sending us this book to review :-)