The Blitz Bus
by Glen Blackwell
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Pub Date 07 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 20 Oct 2021
Emmie let out a huge sob – “It’s not a film set”, she cried. She held onto Jack for a moment, then took a step back, closed her eyes and shouted - “WHERE AM I?”
When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different. As they dodge falling bombs and over-zealous policemen, they befriend Jan - a lonely Polish refugee. Together, they must work out if the shadowy figure they keep seeing is a spy and unlock the secret of getting home again…
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 39 members
Great reading book for primary school students.
The book was easy to read and follow, with enjoyable characters and a great scene setting information.
The Blitz Bus is also informative to young students, with historical information woven into an enjoyable story.
Would be a great read to recommend to students who are learning about, or interested in World War Two; particularly from a British perspective.
In the same vein as Mr. Barrington's Travelling Trunk (Texas history) or the Magic Tree House (everything history) series, this book has our two protagonists wondering why they should care about an aspect of history...and suddenly whisked away into the past to learn exactly why! The time traveling premise was a little loose....they ride a bus to the past?...but the historic elements of the book were well developed and quite educational.
After reading a lot of heavy stuff of late, I wanted something light to read. Made a bit of a mistake there. Definitely not a light read, but what a brilliantly written and executed book.
Kudos to the author for dipping his toes into historical fiction for a children's book when superheroes and such are all the rage.
The Blitz Bus reminded me of Goodnight Sweetheart, the British science fiction time travel sitcom (without the comedy). When Gary Sparrow initial travels back to war-torn London, it's fun. Till the bombs drop, then he is absolutely terrified. And I could imagine that is probably how young Jack and Emmie felt. The problem is they were initially alone. But thankfully for them, along came Jan.
I have to admit it is a long, long time since I have read this age level of a book, but I found it exceptional. The historical content alone was superb, and it bought that period of history up close and personal.
Time travel of any description is in vogue at the moment, and even if this isn't your actual Doctor Who, it will still play well with younger ones. It really is a surprise package, with mystery and intrigue for the young ones to get their teeth into. As well as the friendship they find along the way.
I thought the dialogue was very realistic, past and present. The author described the sights and sounds of the times very well indeed.
Going to do my best to get my daughters, who run their respective libraries, to get copies of The Blitz Bus when it is released. I think it would make a perfect educational tool for youngsters. Whether the second world war would crop up in the curriculum again, I do not know, but it would be a viable option if it did.
I am so pleased I took time out from my usual reading material to take in this excellent book. The Blitz Bus definitely receives a 5-star rating for me.
Thank you, NetGalley, BooksGo Social and Glen Blackwell for the ADC of the book.
What a fabulous little find this was! If you're old enough to remember the Nicholas Lyndhurst time travelling show Goodnight Sweetheart, then you're in for a treat with this one.
"𝙄𝙩'𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖 𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙢 𝙨𝙚𝙩!"
Very well written & researched, with accurate descriptions of the sights & sounds in blitzed London. Aimed at the younger generation, but would be a delight for any age interested in England's history.
"𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙢 𝙄?"
When Jack and Emmie suddenly find themselves transported back to London in 1940, they find a world both familiar, yet very different.
Many thanks to Netgalley for my ARC in return for my honest review.
𝗜 𝗴𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸 𝗮 4 ⭐ 𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴
Taking a bus and travelling back in time to London in the blitz, and discovering the underground station full of beds and people hiding from bombs, What’s not to love about this book?
Sleeping in the underground station for a few nights then in an air-raid shelter, Jack and Emmie, lived through bombings and the daily life of Blitzed London, Making friends with two Polish children who had fled Poland due to the war, Jack and Emmie try to figure out how to get home to their own time. Jan helped them hide, and together with Stan, they solve the time travel mystery.
A great read for 8-13 year olds interested in history and adventure.
Thanks to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ahead of publication in exchange for an honest review
The Blitz Bus
by Glen Blackwell
Pub Date 07 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 20 Oct 2021
Historical Fiction | Middle Grade
I am reviewing The Blitz Bus through BooksGoSocial and Netgalley:
When Jack and Emmie were transported back to 1940 London they find a world that is both familiar and very different. They find themselves dodging falling bombs and over zealous policemen, they befriend Jan, a lonely Polish refugee.
Together the group finds themselves having to find out if the shadowy figure that is following them is a spy, and unlock the mystery of how they will get home again.
The Blitz Bus, would be a great read for Elementary/Primary School boys or girls who like adventures.
I give The Blitz Bus five out of five stars!
This was a great little story. I liked that it was heavily laden with historical fact. The several points of views made it quite complex for a book that, I presume was aimed at young seniors or late primary readers . I found the ending a, little bit abrupt though.
I was drawn to this book because it featured two genres that always appeal to me - world war history and time travel. I found the story to be a fairly quick easy read that would be well suited to primary school students and would hopefully interest them in exploring the subject matter in more depth.
The story begins when Jack's teacher assigns students a writing project on what it might have been like to live in London at the time of the Blitz when children were often being sent off to live in the country. It's difficult for Jack to really imagine what it would be like and he struggles to produce anything that will please the teacher which makes him late meeting his friend Emmie at the bus stop. He almost misses the bus but gets on through the back just in time and before they know it Jack and friend Emmie find themselves in what seems like a movie scene but turns out to be London in WW2. Not only are they dealing with culture shock but they quickly learn that people will stop them and ask why they aren't in school. Life becomes a little easier when they meet Jan - a young boy who had arrived in England via Kindertransport and who is having trouble making friends among his classmates. He misses his home in Poland.
There is a little mystery thrown in when the trio encounter another youth who seems to be acting in a suspicious manner. Might he be a spy? If they do something abut him will it change their future? Can they tell anyone that they are time travelers and how can they possibly get home to their own time?
For North American readers the language may take a little getting used to and the ending of the story is pretty abrupt but overall I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to younger readers.
Many thanks to #NetGalley and #BooksGoSocial for letting me read an advance copy. The opinions expressed are all my own.
What a quirky little book. Was so lovely to be involved with them getting on tje bus and being transported back in time instead of like tje majority of book taking you to the future
A very evocative story of two children who are transported back to 1940 and the challenges that they find, mainly to just survive without a family. They meet two polish refugees and begin to learn more about the realities of the blitz, rather than the sanitized version they have seen in books and school.. This makes for a really good introduction to the subject and dos not shy away from many of the harsh realities of life. Of course, their major concern is whether they will ever see their homes and families again.
Princess Fuzzypants here: Modern day Jack is struggling to relate to the history of WWII. So often people of all ages think all history is nothing but a litany of dates and facts. They cannot grasp that it is the story of people, not unlike themselves, living in very different times. Someone, someday, may be reading a book about what they are experiencing right now. For me, that is the beauty and the pathos of history. This book is a wonderful story of how that we learn more by being able to put ourselves into the story than we can by dry reading.
For Jack and Emmie, the opportunity to do this is thrust upon them unwillingly. They get off a bus and walk into London, 1940, during the Blitz. Many of the children who were born in London had been transported to safer locations but the refugees from war-torn Europe arrive in the city under fire. Before they know it they are swept into the Bethnal Green Tube station during a raid. They experience the fear, despair and the depreciations first hand. Using their wits, they are able to survive and avoid capture until they can figure out a way to return to their time. Of great interest to me was the choice of the tube station as it was the scene of a great disaster later in the war.
Before the two children can return the lessons continue. They meet two very different Polish refugees who, through them, find the first true friends they have made since coming to England. By the time Jack and Emmie wave goodbye to Jan and Stan, they know the two lonely boys will support each other after they leave.
The book tells the story of the lives of everyday people during the Blitz. I have done a lot of reading and study on the Blitz. The story is a perfect way to educate subtlety through the eyes of two children. It is easy to read and understand. I would recommend it to the young reader who likes adventure stories set in the past. It is both informative and entertaining. Five purrs and two paws up.
I love children’s historical fiction and was delighted when I received a copy of Glen Blackwell’s new book. As a primary school teacher I have read many quality children’s books set during the second world war; Once, Goodnight Mister Tom, Letters from the Lighthouse, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Umbrella Mouse and Our Castle by the Sea are all superb and explore various aspects and experiences of World War 2. All of the aforementioned are must reads and I can now add The Blitz Bus to that list of wonderful wartime stories.
The Blitz Bus is the story of two children, Jack and Emmie, who inexplicably find themselves transported back to London, 1940, on their way home from school. At first they are convinced they have inadvertently stepped into a film set but then the bombs start falling, they attract the attention of the authorities, have to seek safety in the underground and it quickly becomes apparent that this is most definitely their new reality. Along with new friend Jan - a polish refugee - they must work to uncover the identity of a potential spy and try to find a way to get back home.
The Blitz Bus is a thrilling wartime adventure that explores the Blitz through the eyes of children and it makes for a very enjoyable and educational read. For a historical wartime read, the whole idea for the book is unique and original and I love the concept. At school, both Jack and Emmie are struggling to properly imagine what life would have been like during World War 2 so what better way to understand it than to experience it for themselves.
Finding themselves in 1940’s London the children are surrounded by a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. London is being bombed, people seek shelter in air-raid shelters, food is rationed and every day is a battle to survive. The story-telling is peppered with historical facts and Blackwell’s well-researched and accurate descriptions immerse readers into wartime London, it is easy to imagine what it would have been like which is exactly what children need unless they plan on sneaking a ride on the Blitz Bus.
In their search to get back home, Emmie and Jack meet two young polish children, Jan and Stan, who have travelled to England via the Kindertransport system in the hope of finding safe refuge from the German army. Jan and Stan's personal stories add another welcome historical element to the narrative and as the friendship develops between the children from the past and the present, emotional conversations shed light on the experiences of wartime refugees and the struggles and challenges they faced at being in an unfamiliar country and far from home. I really enjoyed this aspect of the narrative as these are important stories that need to be heard.
The Blitz Bus is a very accessible read that I raced through in a very enjoyable morning. I would highly recommend to children in upper key stage two, it would be an excellent book to read when studying World War 2.
With huge thanks to Glen Blackwell and Zoetrope for my copy of this brilliant wartime read.
Recommended for 9+.
Very enjoyable read! The time of the Blitz in London is a special interest of mine, and this one did not disappoint. Full of interesting, and often sad, details about civilian life during WW2, but not so graphic as to make this a Y.A. book. Perfect for introducing middle-grade readers to the subject of WW2.
**I received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own. Thanks, Netgalley!**
First off, thank you @netgalley and @gblackwellbooks for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this lovely book! The book is due to be published in two days time, September 07, 2021.
This is my first book ever in the time travel genre, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it even though it is aimed for younger readers. I found myself engrossed in the historical elements of it, I am not particularly learned about World War history, so this simplified version really tweaked my interest, I might even seek out other books set during those times.
The writing style is simple but engaging with the right hint of poignancy and excitement. I couldnt help feeling a deep sense of anxiety for the children; for Jack and Emmie stuck in the past and for Jan who fled home because of war. Every time Jan mentions lugging his gas-mask around everywhere, I felt a jolt of emotion I cannot explain. The sheer terror or trying to hold on to normalcy in the middle of a war torn world is something I cannot imagine. This book will surely help readers empathize with the countless refugees and refugee children scattered all over the globe, who are trying to claim a little place for themselves in a world where they constantly labeled as strangers.
I would definitely recommend this book to children and adults alike. It's a fun, thrilling ride through time, scattered with relevant historical facts that could teach us a thing or two about kindness and tolerance.
Thank you to the author, BooksGoSocial and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book combines London in WWII and time travel - which sounds an unlikely pairing, but it's so well done that middle grade children will find this a great read. Starting from the present day, and jumping back into London in 1940, the book has well-researched descriptions and brings in aspects that will appeal to children, making history real to them, while at the same time injecting a sombre note into what were terribly difficult times. I loved the way the author used the characters Jan and Stan to introduce the Kindertransport and show how important giving others safe refuge is. Highly recommend!
I love reading children's historical novels and this one didn't disappoint. A lovelytimeslip historical fiction story for children. Bringing to life, the historical facts that faced the people living in London during WW2. When two friends are finding it tricky to understand in their history lessons, how life really was during WW2, they get transported in a London bus back to wartime. There they find fitting in difficult and at first can't believe it has happened. Emotions run high. Making friends with two children from Poland, trying to fit in as well, they find themselves not only understanding how people coped but also eventually finding how keeping up moral and being positive is the best way forward.
A great insight for children into the sights, feelings and nostalgia of WW2 from the perspective of the younger generation.
An enjoyable read, aimed at 9-13 year olds, I would say. It’s based around the London Blitz in WW2 abs whilst being enjoyable time travel fiction it’s also educational for that age group, inviting the reader to understand what the Blitz meant for Londoners.
Lovely book cover too, very inviting.
I didn't realize at the beginning that this was aimed at primary school children but it still made for a very enjoyable read. Based in London 1940 the wording in all ways was very good. Giving the real feel of that period in time. Children should learn a great deal from this novel. I must admit that the ending was rather quick but then I think it had to be. As an ageing adult I found this a very interesting read without it being hard to understand and I am sure hat children would have the same feeling about this and it certainly gives the right vibes of the period. Any history teacher who teaches the primary years would find this a valuable piece to add to there lessons. Well done, very well written and well worth 5 stars.
Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this eARC
A good story via NetGalley for older children about two twelve year olds who are taking the bus home from school when they are sent back to 1940. They had been studying 1940 in school at the time. They meet two boys from Poland who were sent to England to keep them safe. How to get home is on their mind as they make it by day to day with the bombings and lack of food availability.
This was a very cute book. Obviously, the cover is very pretty, so that's what got me into it, as well as the travelling back in time aspect.
I think this would be perfect for kids in primary school. It was a really, really fast read. It's not complicated, it's very easy to follow, as you can imagine the language isn't too complex.
I liked that historical facts were mixed into the story.
Overall, it was enjoyable.
What better way for kids to learn what it was really like to experience a challenging period in history than to transport them to that time? (okay, I realize that this would be a horrible idea for certain times or for us to do it en masse)
Emmie and Jack get to experience what the WWII blitz was like firsthand. From scurrying to find an underground shelter, to kids being shipped out from other countries for their safety to live with strangers and still be in a different sort of danger, to finding food when most ingredients are rationed and more, these two learn about it and live it.
An enjoyable time travel story set in London in the present day and the 1940’s.
Accurate historical detail and an exciting plot involving evacuees, spies, police chases, air-raids and bomb-shelters. Simply written, it would appeal to readers aged 9-12. I could certainly see myself using this in class as part of a unit on “Life during WW2”.
With thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for an early copy in return for an honest review.
This book represents why I like historical fiction so much. These stories bring historical events to life in a way that a textbook simply can't, and make it relatable. As you travel back in time with Jack and Emmie, students can begin to learn about the air raids of World War 2, the Kindertransport, and the impact World War 2 had on London/England. I think this book could also be a good launch pad for a STEM lesson as kids could learn more about building radios.
If you have readers who have enjoyed Magic Treehouse books, this is another great option for them as they get a bit older.
The cover is what hooked me for this book. The author articulately brings in historical fiction into this kids book and does so well with it. It was an enchanting read and I cannot wait to share it with kids I work with.
A great introduction for KS2 Primary school children and older to learn about some of what happened during the 2nd World War and the impact on families and children in Europe at this time.
Opened up to lots of family discussions (Rations / child transportation/ Air Raids / RAF / Bombings ) and held the kids interest throughout. Only surprise was the ending seemed quite abrupt and think the children were looking for more of a tighter closing to the story. I loved the final pages explaining interesting facts about Bethnal Green Tube station and about the children transportation across Europe before WW2 started.
A great story of time travel back to 1940 following Jack and Emmie on how they survive and discovering new friends whilst trying to understand how they can get back to the current time.
Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) from NetGalley
The Blitz Bus follows Jack and his friend Emmie who find themselves sent back in time to the year 1940, and they embark on an adventure to make their way back home. Honestly, this reminded me of the Magic Tree House not only for the main premise of traveling through time and going on an adventure that’s somewhat educational, but the main characters of that series names are Jack and Annie - which is awfully similar to the main characters’ names in Blackwell’s book - and instead of a tree house, they flashed back to the past while in the bus on their way home from school. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Blackwell’s book and the story he crafted; it was educational learning about World War II from England’s perspective, the characters were intriguing, and overall this was a well-written book. I definitely recommend this book for younger readers who are looking for a historical fiction adventure.
I actually enjoyed this book, didn't take me long to read
We fo!low Jack and Emmie who are on the bus going home to see a flash and feel a tremor and when getting off find themselves transported to 1940 and end up straight in the London underground shelter as bombs are being dropped, the kids think they are in a film set to start with until reality kicks in the next morning, they work together to try to figure out how they can get back home to their time, they make friends with 2 polish boys who have been evacuated to London and the four of them try to figure out how they can get Jack and Emmie home with out the butterfly effect happening and changing the course of history
Well written and very descriptive, a very quick and easy read
The Blitz Bus by Glen Blackwell
On the bus home from school, Jack and Emmie felt a big flash and the shaking of the ground. They got off to find themselves back in the past, 1940. They were stuck there and have no idea how to get back. With the help of the friend they met named Jan and a mysterious someone, will they able to get back into their time?
I was interested in this book first because of its beautiful cover and reading it, I loved it even more! This book was so fun to read. I learned a lot about World War II in England's perspective and I feel smart now. The characters were incredible and shoutout to Emmie for being my favourite character. It was definitely a page turner for me and I love it so much!
This book comes out in 9.7.21 and I recommend ya'll to go and buy it when it comes out!
When his teacher assigns her class to write a fictional diary entry of a WWII evacuee, Jack, 12, just can't think of anything to write. Somehow, the war seems so long ago and he just can't relate. And now, he's going to be late meeting his best friend, Emmie Langford after school. Being a good friend, Emmie has been waiting at their bus stop when Jack finally shows up.
Everything seems normal until they reached their stop and notice a new blue storefront with a mannequin wearing a long coat and a gas mask in the window. Suddenly, there is a flash of light and it begins to rain heavily, so they head to the nearby Tube station for shelter, along with everyone else.
Everything at the Tube station feels like it's out of time, causing Emmie to think they are in the midst of a film set in 1940. But gradually she and Jack realize they have landed in the midst of a WWII air raid, instead, and that somehow they have traveled back in time. With no money, no food, and no friends, Jack and Emmie begin to try to figure out how they can return to their own time. Along the way, they become friends with Jan, a Polish boy who arrived in England a few years earlier on the Kindertransport. The three discover an old Anderson shelter behind a bombed and abandoned house as Jan helps them navigate this unfamiliar London. When they discover what appears someone trying to build a makeshift radio, they are convinced the mysterious boy/man they have noticed is a German spy.
The German spy turns out to be Stan, who also arrived in London on the Kindertransport, but unlike Jan, whose foster family is quite kind, Stan's treats him terribly. As they become friends with Jan and Stan, can Jack and Emmie trust them with their secret and perhaps get some ideas of how they can return to the own time? Or will they be stranded in 1940 forever?
The Blitz Bus is an interesting time travel novel that points out how as things recede into history, they don't carry the same level of interest or impact that they once had. Jack may live in East London, which had been heavily bombed and damaged during the war, but he's interested in video games and football, not history. I thought that Blackwell portrayed what London in the Blitz was like quite well, layering it with the different experiences of the two Kindertransport kids, their loneliness and homesickness, emotions Jack comes to appreciate firsthand.
The novel also points out how people were so suspicious of foreigners during the war that they often suspected them of being spies, just as Jack, Emmie, and Jan thought that about Stan.
Interestingly, the Tube station that Emmie and Jack shelter in was the Bethnal Green Station which was destroyed in 1943, killing 173 people. Blackwell includes more about it in his back matter, that also includes information on the Kindertransport, and instructions for making the kind of radio out things found, similar to the radio Stan builds to listen to new about Poland.
I have to admit that I was hoping that once they returned to their own time, Jack and Emmie would try to find out what happened to Jan and Stan, whether they were living, and if they were, did they remember their two time traveling friends?
Readers looking for a time travel adventure, as well as those who enjoy historical fiction set in WWII will no doubt enjoy reading about Jack and Emmie's exploits in this imaginative novel.
This book was an eARC gratefully received from NetGalley
After being assigned to write about how it may have felt to be in the Blitz during WWII, Jack and his friend Emmie accidentally end up back in time during the Blitz! They meet a Polish refugee and another kid who appears suspicious. Could he be a spy?
The Blitz Bus is a fun romp that is great for introducing younger readers to the Blitz in a child appropriate way. It goes through a lot of great details, really letting the reader understand what is was like and also talks about the Kindertranpsort, which is often lesser known. The story wraps up very quickly, which is not likely to bother younger readers. There are some references or words that may take a while for an American student to get used to. I would happily add it to an intermediate classroom.
Thank you to Glen Blackwell and NetGalley for providing a free arc in exchange for an honest review.
I love time travel novels. The cognitive dissonance caused by the future and the past overlapping has intrigued me since I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle as a child. Accordingly, I was excited to read Glen Blackwell’s time travel book, The Blitz Bus, about two modern day children who find themselves in 1940 London.
I also was intrigued because my mother spent half of her childhood living through WWII, including being evacuated from the east end of London. Her stories of seeing the horror of the Blitz, of making friends with a little girl from the Kindertransport,* of sheltering from the bombs in the Underground stations, and of holding her little brother’s hand as they were forced onto a train going to an unknown evacuation destination, were an integral part of my childhood.
The Blitz Bus was an exceptional read that paralleled some of the stories of my mother’s childhood with whimsey, science, magic, and sweetness thrown into the mix. Emma and Jack, two 21st century children from East London, take their usual bus home but end up in 1940 in Bethnal Green during the Blitz. Having just studied the war in school, they knew “when” they were but they had to learn where to shelter and how to find food. All the while trying to get home to their own time. As they struggle to survive, including sheltering in the not yet finished Bethnal Green Underground Station, they make two dear friends, both of whom are lonely, Jewish children rescued from Poland via the Kindertransport.
This is an important book for children and their parents to read; it not only provides lessons in history, it also is a sweet book that mixes a little science and magic with that history.
In return for an honest review, I was provided an advance review copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley.
*The author provides this note at the end of the book:
“The Kindertransport (which is German for ‘children’s transport’) was a rescue mission which took place over 9 months, starting in December 1938. The purpose was to help children in countries threatened by or under German occupation get to safety in the lead up to the Second World War. In the end, the United Kingdom took in nearly 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Free City of Danzig (a city state between Germany and Poland which existed between 1920 and 1939). Most of the children rescued were Jewish and, sadly, many of them were the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust.”
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