Monday, March 23, 2009
My Side of the Story: Escape From War
My Side of the Story: Escape from War
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Historical Fiction/Secondary
Riordan's, My Side of the Story, is a specific type of book called a flip-book. It is two books combined together as one and the two narratives are parallel, telling interconnected stories of Frank, an English boy and Hannah, a Jewish-German girl. The stories chronicle the hardships both children face during World War II. When Germany begins to bomb London, and it is no longer safe for Frank and his sister Violet, their mother ships them off to the country-side to live with Mrs. Pattaway, a widowed woman who feels it is her Christian duty to take in the children and watch over them until the war has ended. Mrs. Pattaway also has taken in Hannah, whose mother has also sent her away from Germany and the danger of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
The two stories reflect the misunderstandings both children have about one another and their respective countries, especially Frank's latent antisemitism. While the characters play an important role in the movement of the stories, the actual historical events of World War II seem to drive the plot. Riordan crafts both stories rather well. The reader is instructed to read Frank's side of the story first, and he intentionally leaves holes in the plot which then are filled in when reading Hanna's side of the story. It works well to create one cohesive story after both sides are read. I would recommend this book to students in fifth through eighth grade studying World War II. While it cannot be used as a reference book persay, it does work well as a literary piece to accompany what students will learn from a text book. It also works well for language arts when discussing how authors use point of view. Overall, a great concept which provides srudents with a look into a historical time period from a point of view other than that of America.