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Of all the children’s books I’ve read this year, this is the one that remains most vividly alive to me, most deserving of the Newbery. It is a very well told tale, nuanced, poignant, set in World War II Britain. Ada, 10 or 11 years old—no one has kept track—has reason not to trust any adult. She has an untreated clubfoot and her Mam’s ignorance and shame have kept her, until now, a prisoner inside their tiny, dirty London flat. When children in London are evacuated by train away fromthe daily bombings, Susan (who avers, she “is not a nice person,”) is the adult who gives Ada and her younger brother a place to stay in the country village. It’s very hard for Ada to walk and impossible for her not to ride the fat, lonely pony pining away in Susan’s field (since the death of Susan’s companion). Riding allows Ada swift movement and her first access to freedom. And Susan allows her the freedom to slowly, slowly, learn trust. This novel is a feel-good story, but a private war has been fought and won in order to get there. Achingly lovely, like reading Little Women for the first time.
Newbery Honor Book #1 New York Times Bestseller Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle School) Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2015 New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing
An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War II, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.
Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?
This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.
"Achingly lovely...Nuanced and emotionally acute."—The Wall Street Journal "Unforgettable...unflinching."—Common Sense Media ★ “Brisk and honest...Cause for celebration.” —Kirkus, starred review ★ "Poignant."—Publishers Weekly, starred review ★ "Powerful."—The Horn Book, starred review "Affecting."—Booklist "Emotionally satisfying...[A] page-turner."—BCCB “Exquisitely written...Heart-lifting.” —SLJ "Astounding...This book is remarkable."—Karen Cushman, author The Midwife's Apprentice "Beautifully told."—Patricia MacLachlan, author of Sarah, Plain and Tall "I read this novel in two big gulps."—Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now "I love Ada's bold heart...Her story's riveting."—Sheila Turnage, author of Three Times Lucky
About the Author
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley lives on a forty-two-acre farm in Bristol, Tennessee. She is the author of several books for children, including Leap of Faith, and Jefferson's Sons.
A Newbery Honor Book Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle School) Winner of the Josette Frank Award Winner of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award Wall Street Journal Best Children's Books of 2015 New York Public Library's 100 Books for Reading and Sharing Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Books 2015 Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2015 Kirkus Best Books of 2015 Horn Book Fanfare Book 2015
"Achingly lovely . . . Nuanced and emotionally acute, this vivid tale from the wartime home front will have readers ages 10-14 wincing at Ada's stumbles and rejoicing to the point of tears in her victories." —The Wall Street Journal
★ “Ada's voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity. . . . Things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect and love. Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada's personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration.” —Kirkus, starred review
★ "Proving that her courage and compassion carry far more power than her disability, Ada earns self-respect, emerges a hero, and learns the meaning of home. "—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Involving, poignant, nuanced . . . This is a feel-good story, but an earned one . . . distinct and powerful in its own right." —The Horn Book, starred review
"There is much to like here—Ada's engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive." —School Library Journal
"The home-front realities of WWII, as well as Ada’s realistic anger and fear, come to life in Bradley’s affecting and austerely told story, and readers will cheer for steadfast Ada as she triumphs over despair." —Booklist
"Skillful, smooth . . . Ada's tough journey from brokenness to healing is poignantly credible in its development and emotionally satisfying outcome. . . . The feel-good appeal of the rescue fantasy combines with the increasingly tense World War II backdrop to make this an effective page-turner." —BCCB
“Expertly operating on many different levels, this exquisitely written novel incorporates themes of self-discovery and self-worth, strength of family, the power of love, and the many different kinds of courage. . . . Heart-lifting.” —Joy Fleishhacker for School Library Journal
"In lesser hands than those of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, the plot might tumble into cliché, but thanks to Ada's unforgettable character and unflinching voice, you're too busy cheering her on. . . . Artfully woven." —Common Sense Media
"An astounding novel. Will you cry and rejoice and hold your breath? Absolutely. Will you find the book as exciting, wise, and profound as I did? Yes. This book is remarkable." —Karen Cushman, author of Newbery Medal winner The Midwife's Apprentice
"A moving story with an authentic voice. Beautifully told." —Patricia MacLachlan, author of Newbery Medal winner Sarah, Plain and Tall
"I love Ada's bold heart, keen wit, and amazingly fresh point of view. Her story's riveting. I was with her every step of the way." —Sheila Turnage, author of Newbery Honor book Three Times Lucky
"In Ada's small war lies our large hope that love cannot, will not, be overcome. I read this novel in two big gulps." —Gary D. Schmidt, author of National Book Award finalist Okay for Now