As research for the next novel, I’m reading a lot about the Second World War. For a while I’ve been working my way through a fascinating book called Young Voices by Lyn Smith, produced with the Imperial War Museum.
I picked it up in my local library. It is an account of children’s experiences during the war. I’m particularly interested in children who lived through Occupation and there are children quoted throughout who grew up Guernsey. One woman tells how it became compulsory at school to learn the German language. One day the German kommandant arrived to present a prize, which she as top of the class in German, was to receive. He asked her a simple question in German, ‘how old are you?’ Her brain froze and she couldn’t answer, terrified she was going to be shot. Someone whispered the question again in English, and the girl was able to answer correctly. The prize? A book in German which she was unable to read.
Fascinating stuff, don’t know yet how I am going to use any of this. I enjoy researching my next novel while writing the current one. Sometimes it just gives the brain a rest, a new challenge.
‘Young Voices: British Children Remember the Second World War’ by Lyn Smith [UK: Viking]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Reading for #research: WW2 and child evacuees in Britain http://wp.me/p5gEM4-hj via @SandraDanby