Keep Calm and Carry on, Children

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Pub Date 05 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 29 Sep 2019

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Eleven-year-old Joyce and her little sister hide in their bomb shelter during the German Blitz on London, during World War II. After nights of bombing, it’s decided that they’ll join the over 800,000 children who’ve already been evacuated during Operation Pied Piper. They board a train not knowing where they’re going or who will take them in.

The long, crowded train ride is less than pleasant. Thankfully they make two allies, Sam and Molly. Upon arriving in Leek, the evacuees are herded off the train and paraded down the street like sheep. Joyce and her sister are terrified they won’t be chosen.

Eventually, a family welcomes them. As they adjust to all the changes, they find the people of Leek aren’t so accepting to all the evacuees. Sam’s host is dark and abusive. As the girls help plan his escape, they discover this sleepy little community holds a dark secret...

Eleven-year-old Joyce and her little sister hide in their bomb shelter during the German Blitz on London, during World War II. After nights of bombing, it’s decided that they’ll join the over 800,000...

A Note From the Publisher

Sharon K. Mayhew, born in England, immigrated to The United States when she was eight. She spent seventeen years teaching third and fourth graders to read and write. Keep Calm And Carry On, Children is inspired by her ninety-nine-year-old grandfather’s life. During World War II his parents took in two evacuees from London. Sharon currently resides with her family in Missouri.

Sharon K. Mayhew, born in England, immigrated to The United States when she was eight. She spent seventeen years teaching third and fourth graders to read and write. Keep Calm And Carry On, Children...

Advance Praise

“A novel with a rock-steady page-turning quality.” –Stephen A. Swinburne, author of Safe in a Storm

“Full of warmth and adventure.” –Stephanie Bearce, Twisted True Tales of Science

“A courageous journey of survival and loyalty through the eyes of children during WWII.” –S.A. Larsen, author of Motley Education

“{The Heroine} Joyce is a staunch friend, a protective sister, and a loyal Brit.” –Dianne K. Salerni, author of The Eighth Day

“A novel with a rock-steady page-turning quality.” –Stephen A. Swinburne, author of Safe in a Storm

“Full of warmth and adventure.” –Stephanie Bearce, Twisted True Tales of Science


Available Editions

ISBN 9781684333417
PRICE $5.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 30 members

Featured Reviews

A good story and one in which i know my teenage granddaughter will enjoy. I know i enjoyed reading this book, even though i am at the other end of the age scale.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy. This is my honest review, freely given.

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This is a great read for teens. I enjoyed the perspective being that of the kids who are the main characters of the book. I’ve read a lot of WWII books but can’t recall reading any on this subject matter - kids being evacuated out of London to the countryside for safety.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a free copy of this book.

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Excellent book good description and dialogue. Very enjoyable easy to read book . Was a shame it ended as was looking forward to reading more about the characters and their adventures.
I loved the description of the blitz and the shelter , and the journey to their new home.
Great book and look forward to reading more from the author .

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I feel like this is quite a unique historical fiction story, the fact that it's about the child's experience during the war and being evacuated to the country, normally I have only read stories from the adults perspective.

I think this book reads more middle grade than teen/ya, and it can come across quite juvenile at times. I would say it would be quite an exciting and thought provoking story for a child, and could see a lot of children enjoying it.

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Many thanks to #NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for allowing me to read an advance copy of Keep Calm & Carry On, Children which is due to be published on September 5th 2019. What follows is my honest review.

I was very pleased to be able to read and review this book which focuses on telling the story of how children dealt with the Blitz in London during World War Two. The cover art caught my eye initially but the narrative itself drew me in and kept me reading. The story itself was inspired by the experiences of the author’s grandfather whose parents took in two young evacuees from London during the war.

The story begins in September 1940 with the whirring sound of bombs falling. The author used this sound quite effectively to let the reader know that bombing is underway. The voice the reader hears is that of Joyce, an eleven year old girl who lives in one of the poorer parts of London. There is an immediacy to what she describes that made me better understand what it must have felt like to be in the midst of a bombing attack. The publishers describe this book as being a part of their Young Adult Fiction. I can see how it would work very well when teaching about history of war and could help pupils understand better what it might be like for young people currently living in parts of the world where bombing attacks are all too common.

Over a fairly short time period, the situation in London deteriorates to the point that Joyce’s parents make the difficult decision to send Joyce and her younger sister Gina away from London to a safer spot in the country. This had to have been made even harder by the fact that they had no idea exactly where their children were being sent or who would care for them. They had a list of supplies they were to bring with them and some of the supplies listed were things they didn’t even own.

The train ride to their new temporary home must have been terrifying for the children and the author captured this well in her writing. Joyce and Gina make some new friends en route and finagle things so that they all end up getting off the train at the same spot where they are paraded in front of the townspeople hoping they will be picked by nice people and that siblings will be able to stay together.

As I read the book it reminded me in part of the many Enid Blyton books that I read and enjoyed as a youngster (some of which I have re-read in recent years). The children form friendships, have adventures together including a “mystery”, get into trouble together and support each other through it. I felt I was learning a lot about the times and how different life was for those coming from London versus children the same age who lived in better circumstances further from the wartime actions. Joyce and her sister for example had never owned toothbrushes because their parents felt they were not needed until after the adult teeth were all in! Despite their different backgrounds, the children worked well together and really bonded with each other.

As the story ended the author finished with the line “The End of the Beginning”. This makes me wonder if there will be more stories About Joyce, Gina and their friends. If there are, I would definitely be interested in reading them.

I did find a few mistakes in the advance copy, but hopefully they can be corrected before publication. I certainly enjoyed this “Young Adult Fiction” even from my perspective as an almost senior citizen. If you are interested in knowing how children experienced the war or what life was like in rural Britain in the forties you should enjoy this book.

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An enjoyable read on a subject that many have written about. It was a well paced read. very descriptive with good dialogue that carried the story along nicely. Being from the children's POV made it a refreshing tale on what life was like for evacuated children during world war 2. It captured the emotions they went through clearly and eloquently.

Would highly recommend schools put this on there reading list when covering World War 2.

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The appeal of this book would be greatest, I think, for middle school readers who know very little about England during the Second World War. The author does an admirable job of describing what it must have been like to a child living through those times. The characters are well drawn and realistic.

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Joyce and her little sister have been living through the Blitz in England during World War II. So far, their family has been safe but others aren't so lucky. When they are evacuated during Project Pied Piper Joyce doesn't know what to expect. Will they be safe? Will her family be safe? Who will be taking care of them and will they be nice?
Together with some children they meet on the train and the daughter of the family that takes them in Joyce embarks on some adventure and a bit of a mystery.
I warmed up to this as it got going. This would be best for readers who are just entering into historical fiction and aren't ready for really meaty work.

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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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 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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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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This was such a fascinating book - and being based on a true story, makes it all the more interesting. The imagery is so vivid, you're transported back to WWII, bombing raids and all. I was impressed with Mayhew's ability to bring everything to life, including the sounds. For a book targeting younger readers, I got so wrapped up in it that I flew through it pretty quickly. This is a great way to give younger readers an insight into a horrible time during history that might only be lightly touched upon in their classes at school. Highly recommend!

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