SEPTEMBER 17 by Amanda West Lewis
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Red Deer Press (September 19, 2013)
Synopsis: In July 1940, a British government-sponsored program called Children’s Overseas Reception Board — or CORB — was set up to send children from Britain to Canada and other Commonwealth countries, in order to rescue them from the bombings of British cities. The City of Benares was a luxury liner that was recruited in September 1940 to transport 90 of these children to Canada, along with the ship’s regular passenger complement.
A convoy of ships including the The City of Benares set off from Liverpool in mid-September and approximately six hundred miles out, after the naval escorts had withdrawn, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank in about half an hour. Only thirteen of the CORB children survived the sinking. As a result of this tragedy, the program was cancelled.
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Life in a war-torn country is completely incomprehensible to people that have not lived it. This book for children and young adults does an amazing job at capturing life in Britain during the Second World War and the difficult choices people had to make to survive.
Amanda West Lewis tells the story of the SS City of Benares in a way that is relatable and understandable to young readers, allowing for a greater and deeper understanding of WWII. The novel captures how children were affected by the war, allowing the audience of middle grade children and young adults to easily relate to the characters and story.
The book follows three children that were selected and boarded the SS City of Benares, leaving behind their lives as they had known them, with the hopes of living a safer life in Canada; a country that was not directly affected by the fighting of war.
There are so many events of World War II that are overlooked and untaught and Amanda West Lewis does a great job of captivating and recreating the tale of the SS City of Benares. While the book is fiction, the story line and characters are based on the true events. This book is perfect for teaching young adults (and even adults) about a dark time in history and the lifestyle of children in Europe during World War II.
This book is an amazing tale of survival that will teach, engage and inspire readers of all ages – especially those looking to learn more about WWII or life during war in general.
*I received this book for free from Red Deer Press for an honest review*