web site hit counter The Silver Sword (Vintage Children's Classics) - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Silver Sword (Vintage Children's Classics)

Availability: Ready to download

'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can' Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a pap 'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can' Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war. The three children realise that the escapee was their father, the silver sword a message that he is alive and searching for them. Together with Jan they begin a dangerous journey across the battlefields of Europe to find their parents. BACKSTORY: Read a letter from the author's daughter and find out about the amazing true stories that inspired The Silver Sword.


Compare

'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can' Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a pap 'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can' Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war. The three children realise that the escapee was their father, the silver sword a message that he is alive and searching for them. Together with Jan they begin a dangerous journey across the battlefields of Europe to find their parents. BACKSTORY: Read a letter from the author's daughter and find out about the amazing true stories that inspired The Silver Sword.

30 review for The Silver Sword (Vintage Children's Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    I remember the first time I bought this book. I was nine years old and had just discovered the joy of Scholastic school book order forms (back when you could still order brand-new books for yourself by mail for only four dollars with no shipping costs), and Escape from Warsaw was one of my first. It's a novel which is based on true accounts, but what really makes it hit home as an important story is how realistic the characters are, and how they could easily be just like you or me. WWII was quit I remember the first time I bought this book. I was nine years old and had just discovered the joy of Scholastic school book order forms (back when you could still order brand-new books for yourself by mail for only four dollars with no shipping costs), and Escape from Warsaw was one of my first. It's a novel which is based on true accounts, but what really makes it hit home as an important story is how realistic the characters are, and how they could easily be just like you or me. WWII was quite possibly one of the darkest periods of human history, and Escape from Warsaw shares the gravity of this through the eyes of children. While originally marketed to middle-grade readers, it's a rather heavy-handed book which I think older readers can definitely get something out of as well. It hasn't become dated with time, either. Its themes and plot are still just as relevant today as ever. At some points the book feels almost rushed, and I'm not sure if that's supposed to heighten the chaos and uncertainty of the story or not but it felt out of place at times. Still, I loved the story and I think it's one that readers should definitely try, because in our current crazy political era, we need to look back on the things that really matter most in the worst of times - family and friendship and love - and Escape from Warsaw shows how special these things are and how they can prevail even when everything feels hopeless.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    In this heartwarming mid 20th century classic, which I loved as a child, four brave Polish kids escape the horrors of the Nazi regime and embark on a perilous journey through war-torn Europe, finally to reach a Western country and be put in cages like the vermin they are. [Surely some mistake? - Ed.]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Supratim

    This is a wonderful book! The novel tells the poignant story of a group of children’s search for their parents in World War II ravaged Europe. The story revolves around the siblings Ruth, Edek and Bronia, and their friend Jan – a resourceful but eccentric, street-smart kid. The siblings had a happy life in with their family in Poland. But, one day the Nazis would come for them and their world would turn upside down. Somehow they would flee and learn to survive on the streets. Ruth, the elder sis This is a wonderful book! The novel tells the poignant story of a group of children’s search for their parents in World War II ravaged Europe. The story revolves around the siblings Ruth, Edek and Bronia, and their friend Jan – a resourceful but eccentric, street-smart kid. The siblings had a happy life in with their family in Poland. But, one day the Nazis would come for them and their world would turn upside down. Somehow they would flee and learn to survive on the streets. Ruth, the elder sister, would take on the role of the mother. More misfortune would follow. The siblings would get separated – Ruth would make a friendship with Jan, who would help with stuff he “managed’ to get. Ultimately, the siblings would reunite and together with Jan, they would embark on a journey towards Switzerland. There would be hardships, but there were many generous people, from all walks of life, who would help the children. There is adventure, danger, tragedy and surprisingly a little bit of humor in the story. But, the most inspiring theme of the book is home. The silver sword, after which the novel is named, is nothing but a humble paperknife belonging to the siblings’ father. This would become a symbol of hope for the children. The author has skillfully used themes such as family, friendship, kindness and his portrayal of human nature is commendable. He has deftly demonstrated how humans can act contrary to their nature under extreme circumstances, and how even “mature” kids try to make up for their lost childhood when they get the chance. The book has a very happy ending. That’s the good news right! The characters of the children had been taken from Red Cross records. However, they did not come from the same family, and unfortunately all of them did not get a happy ending in real life. Anyway, I shall repeat myself. This is a short but a wonderful book. It is regarded as a YA novel, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Christie

    I first read Ian Serraillier’s novel The Silver Sword when I was 12. All these years later I had vague memories of what the story was about, but very vivid memories of having loved it. We read it in school and so it wasn’t a book that I’d actually come across elsewhere. One day, while perusing the selection at Book Closeouts I came across the book and decided to order it. I wondered, after all these years, if it would stand up. Some childhood books do and some don’t. The Silver Sword is the story I first read Ian Serraillier’s novel The Silver Sword when I was 12. All these years later I had vague memories of what the story was about, but very vivid memories of having loved it. We read it in school and so it wasn’t a book that I’d actually come across elsewhere. One day, while perusing the selection at Book Closeouts I came across the book and decided to order it. I wondered, after all these years, if it would stand up. Some childhood books do and some don’t. The Silver Sword is the story of Polish siblings Ruth, Edek and Bronia. When the Nazis invade Warsaw in 1940 their father, Joseph, and mother, Margrit, are taken away leaving the children, then aged 13, 11 and 3, to fend for themselves. We hear a little bit about the father who manages to escape a couple years later and make his way back to Warsaw. There he encounters a young ruffian named Jan. It’s part luck and part contrivance that the children should meet up with Jan and together they set off for Switzerland in search of their parents. I am sad to say that The Silver Sword wasn’t a magical experience the second time around. The story is simplistic, the characters are one-dimensional and the happy-ending is unrealistic. That said, it in no way diminishes my memories of what I loved about the book 30-odd years ago. Then the trials of these children: their hunt for safe places to sleep, finding food, trying to stay out of the way of the Nazis, searching for their parents, was both thrilling and heart-wrenching. I can only attribute my disappointment to the fact that I am older and jaded. I think my children will love it as much as I did then.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    A story crafted around real life examples. This novel tells the story of three Polish siblings (Ruth, Edek and Bronia) search for their parents, after their schoolmaster father is tossed in jail for hanging Hitler's picture facing the wall. He escapes from prison to find his house destroyed by fire and his family gone, and meets a streetwise orphan, named Jan. Ruth manages to find shelter, becoming a "mother" to her siblings, and they decide to go to Switzerland to find their remaining relatives A story crafted around real life examples. This novel tells the story of three Polish siblings (Ruth, Edek and Bronia) search for their parents, after their schoolmaster father is tossed in jail for hanging Hitler's picture facing the wall. He escapes from prison to find his house destroyed by fire and his family gone, and meets a streetwise orphan, named Jan. Ruth manages to find shelter, becoming a "mother" to her siblings, and they decide to go to Switzerland to find their remaining relatives, crossing Poland and Germany along the way. Jan joins them on their quest, helping them survive in a world gone mad, even as the family is separated and reunited along the way. Along the way, they are assisted by generous, caring people: soldiers, farmers, etc. No idea why Scholastic changed the perfectly apt title of The Silver Sword, which was a family heirloom and symbol of hope for the wayward children. Maybe 3.5 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    The Silver Sword is the story of the Balicki family, Joseph and his Swiss wife Margrit and his daughter Ruth, 13, and Bronia, 3, and son, Edek, 11. In 1940, they are living in a Warsaw suburb in Poland during the Nazi occupation of that country, where Joseph is the headmaster in a primary school. One day while teaching, Joseph turns a picture of Hitler so it faced the wall. His action is reported to the Nazi authorities by a student. Joseph is arrested and sent to a prison camp in Zakyna. He spe The Silver Sword is the story of the Balicki family, Joseph and his Swiss wife Margrit and his daughter Ruth, 13, and Bronia, 3, and son, Edek, 11. In 1940, they are living in a Warsaw suburb in Poland during the Nazi occupation of that country, where Joseph is the headmaster in a primary school. One day while teaching, Joseph turns a picture of Hitler so it faced the wall. His action is reported to the Nazi authorities by a student. Joseph is arrested and sent to a prison camp in Zakyna. He spends two years in the prison camp, ill but determined to escape, which he finally does manage to accomplish. Joseph spends 4½ weeks walking back to Warsaw, but when he arrives he discovers that his house has been destroyed, his wife has been arrested and sent to a work camp in Germany, and his children have survived but are no where to be found. At the ruins of his home, Joseph finds a silver letter opener in the shape of a small sword. He also meets a young boy there carrying a wood box. Eventually he befriends the boy, Jan, who shows Joseph how and where to safely jump a train to Switzerland. Before he leaves, he gives the silver sword/letter opener to Jan and asks him to tell his children, should he run into them, that their father has gone to their grandparents in Switzerland to find their mother, and to follow him there. Jan puts the sword in his wooden box for safekeeping. When their mother was arrested, Edek had secretly shot at one of the officers with a rifle, hitting him in the arm. Scared, the children decided to run away that night, over the rooftops of the adjoining buildings and just in the nick of time. As the children are running away, their house explodes – Nazi retaliation for the rifle shot. The children hide in a wood, surviving on the kindness of peasants and on Edek’s ability to smuggle. But one day Edek is caught and arrested. They hear nothing about him for two years, continuing to survive in the woods in summer and in Warsaw in winter. In the summer of 1944, Ruth, now 15, and Bronia, now 5, hear that the Russians are pushing westward and are not far from Warsaw. This rumor turns out to be true and by January 1945, the Nazis are gone from Warsaw, but because of the fighting to regain it, so is Warsaw. At their former home, they find a very ill Jan. They nurse him back to health and are helped to survive by a kind Russian soldier, who also traces the whereabouts of Edek in Posen. But when they arrived in Posen, they learned Edek has TB and is in isolation. At the makeshift hospital for TB patients, they are told that he has just run away. Tired and hungry, they go to a refugee camp for food and rest, but when a brawl breaks out, the hand the pulls Ruth away from the fray is that of Edek. Together, the four children begin their journey to Switzerland in earnest by first taking a train to Berlin. By now, it is May, 1945 and the war over in Europe. Their journey to Switzerland takes Ruth, Edek, Bronia and Jan isn’t easy. Edek’s TB gets progressively worse. Then Edek and Jan are caught stealing from the American troops in Germany, and Jan must do a week of detention. The children are taken in and cared for by a kindly farmer and his wife, but when they hear that all Polish people will be sent back to Poland, they are forced to make a middle of the night escape in some old canoes the farmer owns. All through their journey, the silver sword has been an inspiration to carry on and find their parents. But in their hasty escape, the silver sword gets left behind at the farm. It was their talisman and as long as they had it, they had good luck overcoming the obstacles they faced. Now it seems that their luck has run out. The canoe trip, which should have been easy, is not without hazards: Ruth and Bronia are shot at and one of the other canoes is destroyed. Later, they face a terrible storm while crossing Lake Constance, located in both Germany and Switzerland. Will they ever be reunited with their parents without the sword? At the heart of this novel stands is the idea of family. The Balicki’s are is a warm, loving, supportive family, reason enough to motivate the children to find their parents. And the reason that the homeless, parentless Jan decides to stick with them. Like many people who lived through the war, the children find strength in themselves to endure, discovering that they can deal with all kinds of difficulties and hardships. Throughout the novel, Serraillier juxtaposes the hatred and destructive nature of Nazism and the people who supported it against the kind and helpful people who rejected it, people who were willing to take a chance, even risking of arrest and death, to help the children The Silver Sword was published in the United States under the name Escape from Warsaw, and is still available from Scholastic by that name. I prefer the original name, The Silver Sword since it has so much meaning the central characters in the story. Although the novel was published in 1956, it remains a very exciting adventure for young readers and I highly recommend it. The book is recommended from readers aged 12 and up. This book was borrowed from the Juvenile Collection of the Hunter College Library.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Conor

    The Silver Sword is an epic tale of a family who were separated when the Nazi’s invaded Poland in 1940. The story centres on the Balicki family, who consisted of the mother Margrit, the father Joseph and their 3 young children; Ruth, Bronia and Edek. With their father taken to a prison camp and their mother captured as a slave, the three children were left to fend for them self in a country ravaged by the Nazis. The name of the book, ‘The Silver Sword’ is significant, as this sword belonged to J The Silver Sword is an epic tale of a family who were separated when the Nazi’s invaded Poland in 1940. The story centres on the Balicki family, who consisted of the mother Margrit, the father Joseph and their 3 young children; Ruth, Bronia and Edek. With their father taken to a prison camp and their mother captured as a slave, the three children were left to fend for them self in a country ravaged by the Nazis. The name of the book, ‘The Silver Sword’ is significant, as this sword belonged to Joseph, the father of the Balicki children and throughout the book it is a constant beacon of hope in a story so heart wrenching. Upon escaping from the prison camp, Joseph meets a ragged young boy called Jan and gives Jan the sword instructing him that if he ever encounters his children to send them towards the safety of their grandparents home in Switzerland. While the three young children struggle, things go from bad to worse as Edek; the Balicki brother is arrested for smuggling. With the girls on their own they return to the remains of their former home were they meet Jan, the young boy with the silver sword. Jan at this stage is gravely ill with TB, however his encounter with the girl’s father ensure they take him to a refugee camp were they are reunited with their brother Edek after a chance meeting. Inspired by the silver sword, the four children embark on an emotional journey towards Switzerland desperate to be reunited with their parents after an arduous journey of 5 years. I read this story as a 9 year old child and loved it, reading it again has made me remember why I loved it. Not only is the story informative giving children an insight into war literature and making them aware of specific events such as the Nazi invasion of Europe, the selection of characters are fantastic as it keeps the reader embroiled in their plight. The inclusion of cheeky, likeable characters such as Edek and Jan along with compassionate souls like Ruth really has the reader championing the kids all the way to the haven that is Switzerland. An excellent read for children from year 5 and upwards.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier, originally titled The Silver Sword, is the adventure story of a family which was separated during the war. Their father protests Nazi Germany’s tyranny and is taken to a prison camp which he later escapes from. Their mother is taken away to work for the Nazis. This leaves Ruth, Edek, and little Bronia alone, trying to survive in a hostile land. Though based on true events, the characters were made up for the purposes of this story. It was quite interesting - Escape from Warsaw by Ian Serraillier, originally titled The Silver Sword, is the adventure story of a family which was separated during the war. Their father protests Nazi Germany’s tyranny and is taken to a prison camp which he later escapes from. Their mother is taken away to work for the Nazis. This leaves Ruth, Edek, and little Bronia alone, trying to survive in a hostile land. Though based on true events, the characters were made up for the purposes of this story. It was quite interesting - though very unbelievable! I just can’t believe all these things really happened … but I guess they did! Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Jan was my favorite character. He was such a funny little guy. His pets were funny, too. I felt bad for him … he must have had a terrible childhood!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary Atwell

    A no-frills, beautifully realised tale of courage, simply and sympathetically narrated. Definitely time for a reissue.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    World War II is over. Three siblings---Ruth, Bronia, and Edek---along with their new friend, Jan, are on their way to Switzerland to find their father. The home of the three siblings in Poland has been destroyed by the war, and their mother and father were both taken away by the Germans. Jan has been orphaned and is living on the streets, making his way by hook or crook. It's a story of adventure, of making their way on foot, scrounging for a place to stay in a barn or with a kind family, search World War II is over. Three siblings---Ruth, Bronia, and Edek---along with their new friend, Jan, are on their way to Switzerland to find their father. The home of the three siblings in Poland has been destroyed by the war, and their mother and father were both taken away by the Germans. Jan has been orphaned and is living on the streets, making his way by hook or crook. It's a story of adventure, of making their way on foot, scrounging for a place to stay in a barn or with a kind family, searching for food. It's a story with much to say about the right and wrong things to do, a story that would be excellent for discussion with children. Is it right or wrong to steal food when you are starving? And what if you are stealing from food that is marked for your own hungry people? Are all German soldiers wicked? What about the Russian ones? It's based on true stories of children after the war, and these are stories children of today probably haven't heard. How do mere children survive a long trek? A 1001 Children's Book You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie Hanna

    3.5 stars. Full thoughts here (and yes, this is really my Escape from Warsaw review but the British title is The Silver Sword and I like that way better): https://iamcharlesbakerharris.wordpre... 3.5 stars. Full thoughts here (and yes, this is really my Escape from Warsaw review but the British title is The Silver Sword and I like that way better): https://iamcharlesbakerharris.wordpre...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nevaeh Millar

    A really thrilling adventure

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aoibhínn

    Based on a true story, this novel is the story of four children travelling through war-ravaged Europe during World War Two. I first read this novel while I was in secondary school and I recently found it again in a box of old books when I was cleaning out my attic. I remembered loving it back when I was 13 but I didn't remember much of the plot so I decided to re-read the novel. The characters are all well developed from the children themselves to the various characters they meet on their journey Based on a true story, this novel is the story of four children travelling through war-ravaged Europe during World War Two. I first read this novel while I was in secondary school and I recently found it again in a box of old books when I was cleaning out my attic. I remembered loving it back when I was 13 but I didn't remember much of the plot so I decided to re-read the novel. The characters are all well developed from the children themselves to the various characters they meet on their journey. The plot in gripping and harrowing and gives you a real sense of how war can effect even the youngest, most innocent of children in such an extreme way. Four stars!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clare Cannon

    Definitely a classic. A fast moving and personal account of Polish children searching for their parents who had been taken from them in World War II. In my opinion it's a more engaging read than I Am David.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Els

    I honestly read this book so that I could pass it on - its cover is downright atrocious. Unfortunately - I liked it. Totally strange and somewhat jilted writing style, surprisingly good story. (BUT SO MEAN TO THE CHARACTERS. WHY. I mean, realism, but...)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny / Wondrous Reads

    I bought The Silver Sword on my dad's recommendation, after he mentioned he'd read it many years ago in Secondary school. It made a lasting impression on him, and is a book he'll remember reading for the rest of his life. To a child, this book and its story would be both horrifying and fascinating. It's a simple, short look at a family ravaged by war, and the lengths they'll go to to be reunited. It was first published in 1956, and because of this, it's very different to contemporary fiction. It I bought The Silver Sword on my dad's recommendation, after he mentioned he'd read it many years ago in Secondary school. It made a lasting impression on him, and is a book he'll remember reading for the rest of his life. To a child, this book and its story would be both horrifying and fascinating. It's a simple, short look at a family ravaged by war, and the lengths they'll go to to be reunited. It was first published in 1956, and because of this, it's very different to contemporary fiction. It moves at a much faster pace, and omits any superfluous description or dialogue, which results in a very quick read. Readers of Morris Gleitzman's books Once and Then will find some similarities in the narrative, and are perhaps the best examples of a similar reading level. I warmed to the Balicki family very quickly, and followed their journey with bated breath. I find that nothing is more devastating than thinking of children caught up in the Second World War, and stories about such things never fail to strike a chord with me. Ruth, Edek, Bronia and Jan are all shining examples of stubborn, headstrong children, with an astounding amount of bravery and a belief that they'll find their missing parents. Serraillier chose to focus more on the children's journey, which isn't as perilous as it could have been given that a war was raging througout Europe. His story isn't as shocking as other war fiction I've read, which does mean that the more interesting side of the history is often glossed over. It's perfectly understandable, as this is a book for younger readers, who shouldn't be well-versed in the true horrors of war until they can handle it. Published just eleven years after the end of the war, The Silver Sword was ahead of its time, and was used for both educational and recreational purposes. As a war text, it's not the most informative, but as a story about what it was like to be a child and survive, it's a veritable source of accuracy. I think it's a book that will be read for years to come, and although it's not one often mentioned, I don't think it'll ever be forgotten. 3.5/5

  17. 4 out of 5

    Allison Tebo

    This one will always have special memories for me because I remember my Mom reading aloud to me. But aside from my fond memories, it is simply a wonderful story and just as good the second time around. This book is a great introduction to younger readers about the hardships and loss of WW2 without introducing all the fine details on all the horrors and violence. A story of the every-day heroism of people trying to piece their lives back together in the middle of devastation, this author perfectl This one will always have special memories for me because I remember my Mom reading aloud to me. But aside from my fond memories, it is simply a wonderful story and just as good the second time around. This book is a great introduction to younger readers about the hardships and loss of WW2 without introducing all the fine details on all the horrors and violence. A story of the every-day heroism of people trying to piece their lives back together in the middle of devastation, this author perfectly captured one of the strengths of humanity, the ability to keep on going, to retain love, humor and strength in the midst of defeat. Better in many ways, then the perfectly happy ending, I loved that the author still left the reader with some hard things to digest and dealt honestly with his characters. The children had found their hearts desire in being with their family again, but what they went through left scars. The scars would be there forever, but they were also a testament to their strength, their will to live, and God’s grace. Mini review from my blog: http://allisonswell.website/2018/04/1...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Isaac

    I absolutly loved this book. I couldn't put it down, even when I was supposed to be doing my chores. Oh well. Anyway this story was originally called The Silver Sword and if you read this book you will find out why. I loved how these three children and a friend make thier way to Switzerland from Warsaw just to get back to their family, but also keep in mind that there is also a war raging on. Wow can you imagine. This is in a way kind of like the european version of the underground railroad if y I absolutly loved this book. I couldn't put it down, even when I was supposed to be doing my chores. Oh well. Anyway this story was originally called The Silver Sword and if you read this book you will find out why. I loved how these three children and a friend make thier way to Switzerland from Warsaw just to get back to their family, but also keep in mind that there is also a war raging on. Wow can you imagine. This is in a way kind of like the european version of the underground railroad if you think real hard about it. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good action packed, edge-of-the-seat read, and about bravery, courage, trust, and always reaching your goal in life no matter the hardships.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailler is a powerful children’s historical classic written in 1956. It is a book that must be read so that the past is not forgotten. The novel is set during World War II in occupied Europe, beginning in Warsaw. It follows the fortunes of a group of children with indomitable spirits who have to use their wits to survive as they travel to find family. They have a strong will and a hope that they will succeed. The small group show kindness for other lost children, and th The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailler is a powerful children’s historical classic written in 1956. It is a book that must be read so that the past is not forgotten. The novel is set during World War II in occupied Europe, beginning in Warsaw. It follows the fortunes of a group of children with indomitable spirits who have to use their wits to survive as they travel to find family. They have a strong will and a hope that they will succeed. The small group show kindness for other lost children, and they receive kindness back. The majority of the novel follows the children but to set the scene the novel opens with what happened to their father. Nazi occupied Europe was a terrible place to be. It needed courage and a desire to live in order to have a chance of surviving. I first read The Silver Sword as a child at primary school in the early 1970’s. It is a book whose impact has stayed with me down the years. I decided I wanted to reread it so bought a copy. It is still a powerful read and I read it in just one sitting. If you have never read The Silver Sword, grab yourself a copy… read it and then lend it to your children or grandchildren. The Silver Sword is a children’s classic that has never gone out of print.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gail Wylde

    This is one of my daughter’s favourite books and has probably been sitting on our bookshelf for 25 years, so I thought I would give it a go. I’m so glad I did, it was such a lovely story. This book is going back on the shelf until I can pass it on to my granddaughter. A recommended read for all ages.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Monty

    I read this book under its English title, 'The Silver Sword', but couldn't find this on Goodreads so had to review under the US title. The story begins with the escape of Polish headteacher Joseph Balicki from a Nazi prison camp in the early 1940s, at the height of the Second World War. After a year unfairly imprisoned for refusing to display a picture of Hitler in his school, he has managed to escape. Over a matter of weeks, Joseph makes his way back to his home city of Warsaw, Poland with help I read this book under its English title, 'The Silver Sword', but couldn't find this on Goodreads so had to review under the US title. The story begins with the escape of Polish headteacher Joseph Balicki from a Nazi prison camp in the early 1940s, at the height of the Second World War. After a year unfairly imprisoned for refusing to display a picture of Hitler in his school, he has managed to escape. Over a matter of weeks, Joseph makes his way back to his home city of Warsaw, Poland with help from an elderly couple who shelter him. When he arrives, the city is unrecognisable due to the mass bombing. He finds his wife was also taken by the Gestapo and the same night their house was blown sky high. His three children were never found and are assumed dead. Heartbroken, Joseph leaves Warsaw and resolves to find his wife, and perhaps his children. The action then shifts to what really happened that night the mother was taken. Realising the Gestapo will come back for them, the three children - Edek (11), Ruth (13) and Bronia (3) - escape over the Warsaw rooftops. Thus starts a long journey of hardship and courage to find their parents. They manage to survive in bombed cellars, woods and by stealing food. Even after the liberation of Warsaw in 1944 and the subsequent end to the war the year after, the troubles do not stop. Edek goes missing, and the reality of life as fugitives begins to take its toll. Across the backdrop of war-torn Europe, the Balicki family faces many struggles to find their way back to each other. The writing is gripping, fast-paced and hooks the reader. You become so invested in the characters and long for their family to reunite. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and as a child it sparked my interest in finding out more about the Second World War. The subject matter is serious and the setting realistic, but it is presented in a way appropriate for children. The fact that the book depicts a Polish family in Central Europe is also refreshing, as many British children's books about the Second World War are only focused on Britain. It ties in well to a study of history - I would suggest it for at least Year 4 and up as I first read it when I was 8. The book was published in 1957 but remains as relevant today as ever. A story of the triumph of hope over adversity, the Silver Sword leaves a lasting impression on you and demands to be re-read again and again.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Thom

    Found this on a list of children's classics, read with daughter (11). The story of a Polish family, broken apart in WWII. The first several chapters are about the father, who escapes from prison and heads for relatives in Switzerland after returning to a rubble-strewn Warsaw. While there, he doesn't find his family but does find a young boy, who takes a Silver Sword (really a letter opener) as a token to prove who he is should he find the other children. The rest of the story is about his three Found this on a list of children's classics, read with daughter (11). The story of a Polish family, broken apart in WWII. The first several chapters are about the father, who escapes from prison and heads for relatives in Switzerland after returning to a rubble-strewn Warsaw. While there, he doesn't find his family but does find a young boy, who takes a Silver Sword (really a letter opener) as a token to prove who he is should he find the other children. The rest of the story is about his three children, left alone after the mother is taken to a detention camp. They find the boy with the sword and make their way to Switzerland also, among many adventures. The perspective of the Polish family shows much of the war, from Nazi invasion to Russian liberation. As the children travel to Germany, we see the last days of the war, then the American and French occupation zones. Descriptions accurately depict the damage of battle, including before and after in Warsaw. For the setting, this story avoids bullets and death of soldiers, but then much of it was behind battle lines. The characters have definite strengths and weaknesses, and grow quite a bit over the years. Still published by Scholastic, this story got a very high rating from my daughter, and I have to agree.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I recently read the book 'The Silver Sword' by Ian Serraillier, through school. I really underestimated this book by the cover! ( The phrase - 'Never judge a book by its cover' proves correct! ) Because I ended up really enjoying travelling the journey of the war stricken world with Jan and the Balakis. I felt a sense of understanding for these young soals travelling the journey to Switzerland unaccompanied by family bar themselves. It made me appreciate the world and people for who and what the I recently read the book 'The Silver Sword' by Ian Serraillier, through school. I really underestimated this book by the cover! ( The phrase - 'Never judge a book by its cover' proves correct! ) Because I ended up really enjoying travelling the journey of the war stricken world with Jan and the Balakis. I felt a sense of understanding for these young soals travelling the journey to Switzerland unaccompanied by family bar themselves. It made me appreciate the world and people for who and what they are. Also understanding that if one goes down the other nor lives to see the world the same again. The main Story line is a family tragically gets split up and the children escape on the rooftops of Warsaw. Which then leads to finding new friends and undertaking carrers and basic training which will help them for life. The family tackles many obstacles on their way to reaching destiny, with a paper knife to guide them. Will the family be reunited or will the road take an unclear path? Read to find out! I would rate this book 4/5 stars because I enjoyed learning from a new angle how hard and difficult life was for refugees. I would recommend for 9-11 year olds because I would put it as 'nothing happened' as in thoughts and feelings of sadness did not appear.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I adored this book as a child and I still adore it now. Maybe it was something to do with being the eldest child (with a younger brother and sister) that ensured I fully empathised with the main character Ruth, the would be teacher. Great characterisation and storytelling meant that it was a book I could not put down and also one I would re-read over and over again. For a book set in such a difficult context (WW2) I strangely found it a comforting read and would often turn to it when feeling fed I adored this book as a child and I still adore it now. Maybe it was something to do with being the eldest child (with a younger brother and sister) that ensured I fully empathised with the main character Ruth, the would be teacher. Great characterisation and storytelling meant that it was a book I could not put down and also one I would re-read over and over again. For a book set in such a difficult context (WW2) I strangely found it a comforting read and would often turn to it when feeling fed up or poorly. Connections can be made to any WW2 texts e.g. Carrie’s War, Goodnight Mr Tom but rather than focusing on evacuees The Silver Sword deals with the impact on the whole family through the eyes of refugees. I would recommend it for Upper Key Stage 2 children although I have also used it with Y4. It fits well within a WW2 topic, giving a human dimension that really connects with children.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I have a very soft spot for this book. I read it when I was around 11 and remember gradually realising that it was a book about Polish children. I was born in the UK but my parents were both Polish and with a strong cultural identity, and they had both lived through WWII. Reading this book was great: I was at an age where I just wanted to be assimilated into English culture and here was an excellent English book about a Polish experience. It allowed me to validate my Polish heritage as it equall I have a very soft spot for this book. I read it when I was around 11 and remember gradually realising that it was a book about Polish children. I was born in the UK but my parents were both Polish and with a strong cultural identity, and they had both lived through WWII. Reading this book was great: I was at an age where I just wanted to be assimilated into English culture and here was an excellent English book about a Polish experience. It allowed me to validate my Polish heritage as it equally engaged all the children who read it. It taught me how important books could be in bridging cultural divides for both immigrants and for indigenous children. Thank you to Ian Serraillier for writing such a wonderful and moving book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mckenzie Squires

    This was a great book. I love learning as much as I can about war and the hardships people went through during war. Joseph Baliki has three kids Ruth, Edek and Bronia. They have a swish mother but live in Poland. Joseph is a school master before the war but is taken away from his school and family. A few days later the Nazi's come back for Mrs. Baliki. The children have to escape before the Nazi's come back for them. I wish there was a movie to go along with the book. It could be a nice movie if This was a great book. I love learning as much as I can about war and the hardships people went through during war. Joseph Baliki has three kids Ruth, Edek and Bronia. They have a swish mother but live in Poland. Joseph is a school master before the war but is taken away from his school and family. A few days later the Nazi's come back for Mrs. Baliki. The children have to escape before the Nazi's come back for them. I wish there was a movie to go along with the book. It could be a nice movie if done right. I loved the images the book painted about the war.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    Read this while at school in high school. My class had a lot of students whose parents had emigrated to Australia after the war and I believe that the school put this on the reading list to foster understanding and tolerance. Quite a few students were also struggling with the new language and although this was written for younger students in mind I think it was a good choice at the time. I wonder how it would stand up to a re-read, remember liking it and looking forward to the discussions about Read this while at school in high school. My class had a lot of students whose parents had emigrated to Australia after the war and I believe that the school put this on the reading list to foster understanding and tolerance. Quite a few students were also struggling with the new language and although this was written for younger students in mind I think it was a good choice at the time. I wonder how it would stand up to a re-read, remember liking it and looking forward to the discussions about it in class but not the details now.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Reixma

    A good book. Written for teens and published in 1956, it follows a family as they escape Nazi Occupation. The story focuses on the children and how they try to stay together and survive what is going on around them. (This book was loaned to me by a friend who thought I would find it interesting. It's not one I would naturally gravitate towards, but I found it well written, very descriptive and very well narrated. It was an easy read and genuinely captivating. I would recommend this for teens and A good book. Written for teens and published in 1956, it follows a family as they escape Nazi Occupation. The story focuses on the children and how they try to stay together and survive what is going on around them. (This book was loaned to me by a friend who thought I would find it interesting. It's not one I would naturally gravitate towards, but I found it well written, very descriptive and very well narrated. It was an easy read and genuinely captivating. I would recommend this for teens and younger who are interested in stories like this.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    When I was younger I went through a World War 2 stage and read any children's book about the era that I could. "Escape From Warsaw" was undoubtedly my FAVORITE. I read it, and then read it to my siblings and then read it to myself again (and I am not one to re-read a book). Another book I would suggest is "When the Sirens Wailed" by Noel Streatfeild

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I really liked this tale which is surprising since not everyone reds these kind o books these days. It has a gripping tale and characters that shine in their own ways. It features hardships, courage and determination in the souls of children as their desperate longing for their parents and their solo willpower help them journey to Switzerland. I recommend this very much.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.