Review: ‘The Silver Sword’

26 Sep

On the recommendation of a student, I recently read The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier.  Like many narratives about WWII written for a younger audience, The Silver Sword primarily explores the terrors of war through the eyes of children.  Furthermore, horrors are alluded to but not addressed directly.  Again, this is likely a nod to the intended audience.

For students with little interest in history, this narrative can function as a narrative about adventure and survival.  The trials and courage of the child protagonists are inspiring, and their interactions with others over the course of their journey are at times horrifying and at other times a reminder of human kindness.

This would be an interesting companion or related text to John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.  Both texts feature child protagonists, and both explore wartime experiences.  However, while The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas engages with religion and difference, the emphasis in The Silver Sword is camaraderie, loyalty and the will to survive.

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