A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The War I Finally Won, the sequel to Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's Newbery Honor winner The War That Saved My Life, continues the first-person narrative of abused slum child Ada, 11, who's adjusting to her new life in an English village during World War II. As in the first book, Ada is relatable and cheer-worthy as she deals with being loved and cared for for the first time in her life -- and not being sure how much to trust it. There's lots of World War II historical detail: plane crashes, bombed neighborhoods, and a Jewish character's grandmother dies in a concentration camp, plus there's rationing, blackout curtains, keeping watch for bombers, and a boy on a bicycle who keeps delivering telegrams revealing that someone else has been killed in the war. There are strong messages about family, community, cooperation, kindness, and having the courage to think for yourself, as well as some about horses and how to care for them. As in the first book, there are suggestions that Susan -- Ada and her brother Jamie's adopted mother -- was once part of a couple with her late friend Becky, but it's never made explicit.
What's the story?
As THE WAR I FINALLY WON opens, England is fighting for its life in World War II, and 11-year-old Ada doesn't know what to believe or whom to trust. After a lifetime of abuse and neglect, she and her brother, Jamie, have been taken in by a loving woman, and for the first time she can walk, because her clubfoot's been surgically corrected. She can't escape the sense that it'll all be taken away again. Meanwhile, she's got plenty to deal with, as the war soon has her little family sharing a house with the intimidating Lady Thorton and with a teenage Jewish girl from Germany, who's fleeing Hitler. As the war takes its toll on her loved ones, Ada shows courage, creative thinking, and a willingness to change her mind as she finds herself and stands up for what she believes.
Is it any good?
Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley delivers a rich, satisfying tale of courage, friendship, family, and love in this compelling sequel. As Ada adjusts to her new life as a wartime evacuee, she copes with fear, deprivation, danger, and daily squabbles. Best friend Maggie, little brother Jamie, and adoptive mom Susan -- as well as pony Butter -- offer loving support as death, disease, and the first signs of the Holocaust take their toll. Spirited Ada's courage inspires other characters, and readers will love cheering her on and following her character development as they learn more about a violent chapter of history.
The War I Finally Won can work as a stand-alone, but it's better if you've read The War That Saved My Life first.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how World War II is portrayed in The War I Finally Won. Are World War II stories still interesting and compelling today, or has the world changed too much for you to relate to them?
How would you feel if you and your family suddenly had to share your house with strangers because of some emergency?
Do you like secret codes? Have you ever used them to communicate with your friends? How did you come up with the code?
- Author: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, History, Horses and farm animals, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial
- Publication date: October 3, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.