Saturday, 3 May 2014

Nicola Pierce brings Stalingrad and "City of Fate" to Drogheda......

Today was a local book event as Finn and I went to see Nicola Pierce in The Tholsel, Drogheda, Co. Louth. As part of Drogheda Arts Festival, Nicola gave a superb talk about her latest book, City of Fate, which is a fact-based children's book about The Battle of Stalingrad.  Bringing the book to life, she had a fantastic slide show with amazing photos of the events described in the novel, and had some well researched facts and stories to share with us too.  

Although a children's book, adults will love this story of young Russian soldiers and the children of Stalingrad who were left to fend for themselves during the months of destruction and chaos.  The characters are endearing and add some insight to how horrendous this particular battle was for both the Russians and the Germans.

The descriptions are detailed but not so graphic that they upset a younger reader and the fact that it is written about children makes it the perfect read for a child who has any interest in history.  From experience, I think kids love to read fiction that is based on fact and enjoy something that they can then further research.  This book is similar, in cross genre,  to John Boyne's The Boy In The Striped Pyjames which was loved by both children and adults alike.  Read my review of this O'Brien Press publication below......



" City Of Fate " by Nicola Pierce

A gripping, heart-wrenching World War II drama from the author of the
critically acclaimed Spirit of the Titanic

Imagine your home is bombed one Sunday afternoon by a horde of enemy planes. Imagine your family has gone and you are left behind. This is the fate of five-year-old Peter and teenagers Yuri and Tanya.

Imagine being ordered to leave school to fight the terrifying Nazis in World War II. Imagine you are right in the middle of a battle; it’s you or them – you have no choice. This is the fate of Vlad and his three classmates.

The battlefield is the city of Stalingrad, the pride of Russia. Germany’s Adolf Hitler wants the city badly,   but Josef Stalin refuses to let go.

Nobody has managed to stop the triumphant Nazi invasion across Europe. It all depends on one city – Stalingrad – her citizens, her soldiers - and her children.

Thanks to O'Brien Press for the review copy of this book........

The battle of Stalingrad is the setting for this Children's/ YA novel by Irish author, Nicola Pierce.  We have all read the familiar accounts of children's experiences in WW2 but these stories tend to based around Germany and the Nazis.  This book looks at the effects of war on the children and families of Russia.  Peter is found wandering the streets, orphaned and afraid.  Yuri has lost his family also, and takes Peter under his wing.  They spend their time hiding from the Germans and searching for food.
We also learn of the fate of schoolboys forced to join the Russian Army despite their young age, and lack of understanding of the war and what it entails.  
The author combines these two angles very well, in basic english, making it the ideal read for children from 10 years plus.  There are some harrowing tales within the book and the idea that they are based on fact makes it all the more shocking.  Reading City Of Fate should be a great benefit to any kids who are interested in World History and would be ideal as a read aloud book for teachers.

Like John Boyne's The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, this novel is not just for kids.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and was happy to read of WW2 from the Russian perspective ......

City of Fate is published by O'Brien Press and is available as a paperback or ebook

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