Important Note: Starting in September, Book Club is moving to Saturdays at 9am PST. It will take place only on the last Saturday of each month. Please check Stone Soup’s Newsletters and the Book Club page in the coming days and weeks for more information.
Over the past two weeks, the Stone Soup Book Club has been discussing The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. The book is about a girl, Ada, who has a clubfoot. During World War II, she and her brother Jamie are evacuated from their unloving mother in London, and end up in Kent, under the care of a kind woman named Susan. As the book progresses, Ada overcomes some of the trauma of her childhood, and most importantly, finds a place where she belongs. Additionally, the Book Club was lucky enough to participate in an email interview with the author, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, which is discussed further below.
In our first week of discussions, we started by simply sharing out whether we liked the book so far; it was very interesting to hear everyone’s opinions. We then split into breakout rooms which talked about both the setting and characters in The War that Saved My Life. We discussed what we thought of certain characters, and what the different settings in the book represented. All in all, we thought that London, the place where Ada was kept locked in the apartment she shared with Jamie and their mother (Mam) represented a cage, while Kent, the place where Ada was free to go outside, where she made friends and rode horses, signified freedom. Following those breakout rooms, we began to talk about how we would come up with a list of questions for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley to answer. We split into several breakout rooms, each of which came up with five questions, and then shared the questions out in the whole group. We managed to narrow down our list to ten questions, and then emailed them to Bradley, eagerly awaiting her answers for the next week!
In our second week of discussions, we began by talking about the end of the book; first, where Ada and Jamie are quite happy and content, and then where they discover that they were not as free from Mam as they thought. We discussed how this reunion–albeit not a happy one–gave Ada the chance to stand up to Mam, and prove that she would not be mistreated again. Next, we broke into three breakout rooms to speculate what the sequel to The War that Saved My Life might be about. We thought about certain plot points, and whether they could carry over to the next book, and also about the book’s themes, such as Trust and a Sense of Belonging. It was really fun to hear what everyone guessed. Finally, we read out Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s answers to the questions we had sent her. As we read about which characters and events had been inspired by her life, and how she decided to write The War that Saved My Life, we talked about whether we had expected the answers she gave, or whether they were a surprise. Overall, it was great fun to have had our own interview with Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and we thank her tremendously!
We also chose the next book for Book Club, which is listed below.
Another Note: The War I Finally Won is the sequel to The War that Saved My Life (WtSML). Please note that you do NOT have to have read WtSML in order to join our discussion. Of course, you are welcome to, but it is not required.
The Stone Soup Book Club is open to all Stone Soup contributors and subscribers, age 9-13. Starting in September, we will meet on the last Saturday of every month at 9am PST (12pm EST) via Zoom to discuss our chosen book. Join us!