‘After the War’ by Tom Palmer (KS3)

Longlisted for the The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021

Synopsis: Summer 1945. The Second World War is finally over and Yossi, Leo and Morecai are among three hundred children who arrive in the English Lake District. Having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover.

But Yossi is haunted by thoughts of his missing father and disturbed by terrible nightmares. As he waits desperately for news from home, he fears that Mordecai and Leo – the closest thing to family he has left – will move on without him. Will life by the beautiful Lake Windermere be enough to bring hope back into all their lives?

This book is good. It is a heart-wrenching read which really does make you feel empathy for the characters and keeps you reading till the very end.

It is about a young Jewish boy named Yossi. He is formally from Poland and it is about how he moves from the concentration camp in Auschwitz to the Lake District in England. It is set after the Second World War and is about him and his friends sticking together during their time in Calgarth Estate, and his past during the war in the concentration camps.

The type of people that I would recommend this book to is people who are interested in war and history. It would is be a good book to read if you like to read about friendships and relationships between people during tough times.

I liked the book because it was really interesting about how the smallest things could bring back the most shocking memories. Such as how seeing feather floating down through air from a pillow could bring back the most horrific memories from the concentration camps. It also keeps you wanting the characters to be happy and find their families and loved ones. And it really does make you wonder where are they going to go. And it makes you see how many lives were affected as a result of the war.

Aarian Rexha, Year 7

After the War is an amazing book, which is all about the Jewish boys called Yossi, Leon and Mordecai. They are survivors of the war, and have come all the way from Auschwitz to the Lake District in England.

The boys live on the Calgarth Estate, and are slowly recovering from the pains of the war. They don’t know where their families are, and as their time at Windermere draws to an end, the friendship between the boys strengthen, and they make plans for the future.

I enjoyed reading this book as it shows the reader the real struggles of life after war, and how much one can lose due to family not being around. I suggest this book to those who love learning about the Second World War, as well as those who like learning about history and the physiological and physical effects of the war.

Mahdi Amin

A moving book about recovery and hope which doesn’t flinch from the horrors of the Holocaust to educate and inspire.

Yossi’s haunting flashbacks to his experience inside Auschwitz and the barbarity of the SS during the occupation of his town are extraordinary vivid and left me struggling to try and understand the sheer brutality and disregard for human life. There are several moments in the book which left an indelible impact starting on page 16 when I welled up in quick response to a simple yet meaningful gesture.

What struck me in particular from Yossi, Leo and Mordecia’s stories – and I imagine representative of the ‘Windermere Boys’ given Palmer’s careful, compassionate research – is their constant threat surveillance and instinctive need to just survive after life in a concentration camp: the pocketing of potato peelings, relearning how to cutlery when your most treasured possession has been a spoon, the secondary instinct to be suspicious of each new and unfamiliar situation or action. How do ever you begin to recover from such trauma and loss to rebuild your life and hope again? I would recommend this to students, colleagues, parents and carers several times over.

Ms Harrison