The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

“Ada! Get back from that window!” Mam’s voice shouting. Mam’s arm, grabbing mine, yanking me so I toppled off my chair and fell hard to the floor.”

So begins a book about children living in London, England during World War II. Ada was born with a twisted foot, and her mother refuses to let her ever leave their one-room apartment. She won’t let her even talk to anyone from the window because she’s “a cripple.”

Ada’s six-year-old brother is allowed to leave the apartment and even go to school. Poor ten-year-old Ada is trapped! When families begin sending children from the city to the country to escape the bombing of London, Ada bravely decides that she and Jamie need to go also. Because of her foot, Ada must crawl to the train station! When she meets up with some other kids from the neighborhood, they are amazed to see her. They thought she was “simple”! It’s what her mam told people. “How come she keeps you locked up, if you’re not simple?”

Ada tells him, “It’s because—because of whatever I did, to make my foot like that—” Her mother blamed Ada’s club foot on Ada.

The two children are taken to the country to live with Miss Susan Smith. Miss Smith is a single woman who isn’t sure she knows how to care for children. However, this turns out to be a wonderful adventure for Ada! She teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies!

When I first read this book, I was upset with the mother’s cruel treatment of Ada! I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue reading! I am so glad I did, because this is a wonderful book about learning to trust and becoming a family! It has excitement and suspense! Middle school boys and girls will enjoy it!

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