Cover Image: Keep Calm and Carry on, Children

Keep Calm and Carry on, Children

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Member Reviews

A story about children who are evacuated from London during the war. I loved the humour and the characters journey. Their hope in the face of struggles. What an incredible journey.
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Author Sharon K. Mayhew ( published the novella “Keep Calm and Carry On, Children” in 2019. This is her first publication.

I categorize this novella as ‘PG’ because it contains a few scenes of Violence. The story is set in the UK during late 1940. The primary character is eleven-year-old Joyce Munsey.

Munsey and her eight-year-old sister Gina survive a German raid on London during the Blitz. Their parents decide that the girls need to leave for a safer location. They become part of the Operation Pied Piper exodus in September of 1940. Their destination is Leek, Staffordshire in the West Midlands of England.

On the long train ride to their temporary home, the girls meet two other children, Sam Purdy and Molly Neal. They are both about Joyce’s age. The Mumsey girls and Molly end up with caring foster families. Sam ends up with a man that just wants him for farm labor.

The kids all end up in Leeks and are able to continue their friendship. The kids stumble upon men involved in the black market. This puts them in a dangerous situation.

I enjoyed the 2.5+ hours I spent reading this 157-page young adult mystery. The mystery is ‘lightweight’, but that seems appropriate for a young adult book. I like the view of WWII as seen through young adults’ eyes. Clearly, this seems to be the start of a series of books describing the kid’s adventures. I like the selected cover art. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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I really enjoyed reading this book, I liked that dealt with darker tones for a young adult book and that you really felt like you were in the story.
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I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley.

This book was everything I didn't know I needed. 
The storyline was unique  and easy to follow.
The characters were well-developed.
I couldn't put the book down once I got into it.  
I will definitely be reading others by this author!

You won't regret getting this book.
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It's September 7, 1940 and the sound of the air raid sirens has just begun throughout London. For Joyce Munsey, 11, and her younger sister Gina, 6, that means getting out of their beds and heading out to the backyard and the makeshift, shelter that their dad had dug there, as bombs begin to fall. By September 10th, after witnessing the destruction the bombs had brought into their lives and neighborhood, and after the loss of two neighbors, Joyce's parent decide it time for their daughters to join the next trainload of school children being evacuated to the countryside. On September 11, 1940, Joyce and Gina, unable to even wash up after the previous night's bombing, board a train at Euston Station heading who knows where with a number of other children.

On the journey, the two sisters meet Sam Purdy, 11, and Molly Neal, 12, and after hours and hours of riding, the four of them disembark in a place called Leek. As people look over the evacuees, Sam is chosen quickly by an elderly man who claims to need someone who can help him now that his boys are away fighting. Molly is next, chosen by an elderly lady who likes her humor and cheekiness. And just as Joyce and Gina begin getting worried they would be left behind, a woman and her daughter Phyllis Woods, 10, decide to take in the sisters.

Joyce and Gina's placement works out very nicely, and Phyllis proves to be an instant friend. After a few days, they decide to call on Sam and Molly, to see if they can come out and play for a while. But when they find out he is living with a Mr. Badderly, Phyllis recognizes the name and tells Joyce he isn't a very nice person.

Sure enough, he has Sam working hard in his victory garden and won't let him leave until Joyce, Phyllis, and later Molly help Sam finish his chores. When they finally get away from Mr. Badderly, Sam tells them how badly he is being treated, even forced to sleep in the cellar. But when Sam, Molly, Joyce, and Phyllis discover a hut full of items that are now being rationed, they realize these are things being sold on the black market. I think no one will be surprised to discover who the ringleader of the black marketeers is. But what can a group a kids do about these ruthless crooks?

Keep Calm and Carry On, Children is an interesting story, with lots of everyday details about the early days of the Blitz, and the fear, worry, and trepidation that children must have felt at being sent to strangers in the countryside and away from their family. Many of the evacuees in the book arrived in the countryside in dirty clothes and not have washed, because as the bombing in London increased, the water and gas lines were damaged. That is something I never encountered in a WWII novel about evacuees before. Also, it was so surprising to learn that Joyce and Gina had never used a toothbrush until living with the Woods family. I wonder how common that might have been. The Munsey family was poor in London, and at times, Joyce feels so embarrassment because of it, but was never made to feel bad by Phyllis or her mother.

It took some time to get to the part about the black market and Mr. Badderly's mistreatment of Sam, which sadly really did happen to some of evacuees. I think some of the early details could have been edited out without spoiling the story. Also there were mistakes in the ARC I read, which will hopefully be fixed in the final copy, but it was nothing that would ruin the basic story.

Mayhew's story was inspired by her grandfather's family, when his parents took in two evacuees from London during the war. And one final thing: though she used the slogan in her title, to her credit, Mayhew didn't use it in the story. Keep Calm and Carry On was only to be used in case of invasion, and that never happened.

Keep Calm and Carry On, Children is a novel that should interest young readers interested in history, especially WWII history.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley
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I went into this book expecting more than I got out of it. It read more like a middle grade book than a young adult. The storyline was a little simpler than I was expecting, and the mystery wasn't much of a mystery. It was pretty easy to figure what was going on and who was doing it. The main characters were all younger children, and they all had pretty basic personalties without a lot of depth. I think this a good book for a younger audience to become acquainted with WWII, but I think older audiences may find it a bit lacking.
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After several attempts, I have been unable to finish this book. I have read many books set during WW2 and am greatly interested in this period of history but found this book incredibly difficult to read, in particular because of the punctuation and grammar errors throughout. I can't recommend a book to the children I work with, if it is full of the very things we try to teach them not to do, for example using apostrophes for plurals ("Nazi's").
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Writer Sharon K. Mayhew started living in de US at the age of eight. She grew up there and became a teacher. She wrote the story about Joyce and her little sister Geena. They are children living in London during WWII. When the bombs are falling their parents decide to send them off to a nearby town. During there trainride they make a couple of friends. All together they leave the train to find a new family. And although Joyce and Geena are last to get a family, most likely because of them wanting to be together. They do find a great and loving family to stay with.

But not all of Joyce her friends are that lucky. Sam ends up with an older man who treats him very pourly and makes him work real hard. But they decide to help him, ‘cause that’s what friends are for. On one of the trips they make together they find some black market – stuff. When they come back, Joyce hurts her leg and gets in to trouble when they find her. And then she makes a horrible discovery.

The story starts in London, where the reader is getting to know the girls and there lives. To bad it is that the book is really a very long introduction towards a not so spectaculair ending. And above all that some big questions about the ending of the war and weather or not the parents of the girls are all right in the end of the war stay unanswered. It’s a bit of several storylines that aren’t worked out so well and makes it an unfinished story. 

Besides that the story has been written in some kind of dialect english words. This isn’t really appealing to me as a reader. It is a little bit irritating in the end. Which makes the only possitive thing about this story the author letting herself be inspired by her own grandfathers life. But there's not enough strength and power in this story!
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It is World War 2.  Joyce and her little sister Gina with her parents are in their home made bomb shelter during the German Blitz in London.  Bombs are falling.  House are either totally destroyed or partially.  When Joyce’s parent get the notice of Operation Pied Piper, they decide that Joyce and Gina should go with the other children to live in the countryside.  Joyce tries to talk her parents out of doing it but doesn’t succeed.  On the train, they talk to two others named Molly and Sam.  They become friends.  When they end up in the same town,  Sam and Molly are chosen first.  As Joyce and Gina walk on, they get chosen.  Joyce and Gina like their new home and settle in after a few days.  When Joyce finds Sam and learns how he is treated, she becomes upset.  Joyce decides to try to help Sam.  What is so bad about Sam’s home?  Joyce also finds Molly and is glad she has a good home in town.  She has Molly get involved with helping Sam.  When they all go on an outing to slide down a side of the quarry where they discover an abandoned hut.  When they go to explore it, they come on a mystery that they decide they will try to solve.  What was in the hut?  Will they be able to solve it?

The book is a peek into what happened to children that went to live in the countryside during World War 2.  It  had me riding the train trying to be brave about leaving their parents behind.  They worried that they might not see their parents ever again.  It was interesting to see the kindness of some who took them in and others who took children for “helpers.”  Not all homes were good places for children.  Its a different part of World War 2  than what is written about.  The author has written an interesting story.
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This book was just okay. I didn't realize it was a middle grade book but even so, I've read some amazing children's books and this just fell flat. It felt like a Scooby Doo mystery with a dash of Hardy Boys, but not in a good way.
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I loved this one. It starts with Joyce and Gina in 1940 enduring a succession of terrifying air raids that severely damage their home and kill neighbours. Their parents reluctantly decide they have no choice but to send the sisters off to the country, taking part in the huge operation to rehouse vulnerable youngsters for the duration of the war. Told in Joyce’s viewpoint, the train journey is told in vivid detail as friendships are formed and one small boy gets left on the train when his sister gets off.

By the time I’d read to this stage, I couldn’t put the book down until I discovered where the girls ended up – would they be separated? This was Joyce’s personal nightmare – both girls were filthy, having had nights spent in underground shelters and no water for washing. As they wait anxiously to discover who will claim them, to look after the girls for the rest of the war, I felt my stomach tighten. I know only too well that it was a complete lottery – while many children were cherished and cared for, some ended up in households who regarded them as unpaid labour, or worse. So where Joyce and Gina end up?

This is a gripping read that covers all aspects of being an evacuee, with an extra adventurous brush with black marketeers after the style of an Enid Blyton escapade to add extra spice to this historically accurate story. I would like to think that this book is used in primary school classrooms during a WWII topic – there are all sorts of aspects of this story that merit discussion. Highly recommended for any child interested in WWII. The ebook arc copy of Keep Calm and Carry On, Children was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.
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Keep Calm and Carry On, Children is set in England during WWII. It follows the lives of Joyce and her sister who live in London during the time of air raids, bomb shelters, and death. Their parents make a hard decision to move their children to the far countryside away from danger. This move is what is known as Operation Pied Piper. WWII is taught in many schools around the world, but I believe that this part of history is not well known. As the story unfolds, Joyce and her sister make friends on the train and have quite an adventure of their own in the quiet village of Leek. It is here they learn that black and white is more of a grey when times are hard and the country is at war. War has changed the lives of all - no matter where you live or how old you are. Sharon creates adventure that any reader is bound to keep turning pages to see what becomes of Joyce and her friends.
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I was drawn to this book by its cover and description of children fleeing the city of London during the Blitz to the countryside. I haven’t come across too many books as such as of yet but I’m glad to have been able to read an early copy thanks to NetGalley.

After struggling through several nights of German bombs exploding all around them in London...Joyce and her sister Gina became two of thousands of children sent to the English countryside for safety. Along the way, they befriend Molly and Sam. Together they form a strong friendship along with the girls host sister, Phyllis. 

While the girls were able to find wonderful host families who cared for them as their own, Sam found his way into the home of an abusive man who made him to strenuous chores and then locked him in a cellar at night. To get Sam away from his host, the girls pitched in to help Sam with the chores and afterwards they would explore the countryside. 

They make a startling discovery about Sam’s host and devise a plan to free him from abuse and into a proper home. For being 11 or 12 years old, Joyce has a wise beyond her years head on her shoulders. 

This book is written for young adults and I hope many are able to get their hands on it. It’s a story about friendship and strength in a time of war. Kids need to read stories like this. They’ll gain historical knowledge but also examples of coming together and working as a team. 

As an adult who frequents WWII fiction, this was a great book to cleanse my palate so to speak. WWII fiction can be extremely emotional and breaks are often needed before diving back into it again. This was a great reprieve and a lovely story.
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I read this book along with my 13 year old daughter who devours any and all historical fiction.  We both read through this book extremely quickly and found my great topics to discuss.  We enjoyed the fact that it was told from a child's perspective which is a unique position to take.
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The story of the mass evacuation of children from London during the war to protect them. It tells of their struggles to adjust to living in the country with strange families. Some tales are sad some happy.
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To be completely honest, I think this book should be longer. The build up of the story is really good and draws you in at an instant. But towards the end it feels so rushed and the book ends so suddenly that I am wondering if this is the complete book? If that is the case I hope there will be a second book since this one left me with a lot of questions. 
Overall I liked the book, I just think that it could use a bit of improvement. For instance the characters seem a bit flat and it took me way too long to figure out that Joyce is 12 years old, which is an important thing. Her age justifies her actions.

I have a lot of unanswered questions, for example “are her parents okay?”  “What happened to the black market people” etc etc. The book wrapped up way too soon and could easily use another 50 pages to round it off. Or a prologue to give the book closure. 

I do recommend the book. It is historically accurate and is a fun and quick read. But I hope it has a sequel
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I would definitely put this book in the intermediate/middle grade category. Sam’s situation, while neglectful and boardering on abusive adds the problem elements to the story which I think middle grade students could understand. I found the story a bit goody too shoes and I don’t know if children will relate to the characters. The subject matter of evacuees from the London bombings during World War II is more believable in The War That Saved my Life by Kim Brubaker Bradley, although I did find the train ride and the distribution of the children to be interesting.

#KeepCalmAndCarryOnChildren #NetGalley #ARC
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Keep Calm and Carry On, Children is a great little adventure.  The kids in it are great and the syory takes me back to my younger years reading about the Famous Five and their escapades.
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I received an ARC of this book, but all opinions are my own and remain unbiased.

I enjoyed this book; Joyce is an endearing main character and her sister Gina and all their friends are just as enjoyable. It reads as a middle grade to me, something which typically comes with having such a young narrator anyway, but I wasn't put off and I could imagine a parent enjoying reading this also. Any child wanting to know more about WWII or the Blitz would enjoy it, though I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the writing-out of accents, particularly the girls' father. Seeing accents written out phonetically is not my cup of tea, especially in middle grade, where it's important that words are written out properly so a child doesn't end up writing "little uns" in an English class.

I also wish this book would have delved deeper into the black market part, as it felt less flushed out than the rest of the plot because it took place at the very end, but this was still an enjoyable read. I would recommend this to young children interested in WWII to read with their parents or as part of a classroom topic on the Blitz.
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I really liked this book, and I would have loved it when I was younger. It did really well capturing the urgency of the Blitz, and the emotions of the children that lived through it. I'm a big fan of Narnia, so it's no surprise that I also enjoyed this book about children being sent to the countryside to escape the bombing. The main character was a lovely character to spend all of our time with, and her friends were just as lovely and charming. I do wish that the mystery with the black market stores was expanded a bit more, as it was only in the last 20% or so. I realise the book's intended focus was the Blitz anyway, but I found that plotline interesting and was disappointed it ended so quickly. I also was hoping there would be more of a reunion at the end, with the children going back to London and reuniting with their parents. In this case, everything is wrapped up nicely and they all settle into their temporary homes happily, but war is still knocking and nothing is wrapped, not really. But different ending or not, I did really like this and I would happily read it cover to cover as a child repeatedly.
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