We Are Wolves (Katrina Nannestad, ABC Books)
In We Are Wolves, middle-grade author Katrina Nannestad, creator of the ‘Olive of Groves’ and ‘Girl, the Dog and the Writer‘ series, moves confidently into more sombre territory with the story of a Prussian family who are forced to flee their home in 1945. Having already lost their father to the war, Liesl, Otto and baby Mia become separated from their beloved Mama, Oma and Opa when the Russians invade. In the midst of a hard winter and in the aftermath of war, the Wolf children display incredible resilience, bravery and ingenuity in order to survive. They grapple with the moral ambiguity of wartime, ideas of enmity and nationhood, and the perils of hiding your identity. Although dark themes are touched upon, Nannestad is careful to balance the book with stolen moments of joy; toddler Mia hilariously names all the cows they meet, including the delightful Dog, Wobbles and Yummy. This book provides a new angle on the endlessly fascinating history of World War II, but the astute reader will draw comparisons to the plight of modern refugees across the world. Anyone aged 10 and up who enjoyed Lenny’s Book of Everything or The Book Thief will find much to cherish here; I guarantee that the Wolf children will find a place in your heart.
Annie Waters sells books, writes about books and podcasts about books. Read her interview with Katrina Nannestad about We Are Wolves here.