I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: Girl 38 is bold and fearless. She is the comic strip super-heroine that Kat longs to be. Can Kat’s elderly neighbour, Ania, show her how to be brave, as she shares her own daring escape story from World War Two… and find a happy ending for Girl 38?
Title: Girl 38
Author: Ewa Jozefkowicz
Publisher: Zephyr, an imprint of Head of Zeus
Genre: Fiction, Children’s, Contemporary, Historical
This book combines modern day school struggles and a tale of two friends from long ago, showing that friendship and doing the right thing are always important, no matter when you’re growing up.
There were a lot of things that I enjoyed about this book, first and foremost, that the themes of friendship and helping others were so prominent. These are wonderful messages to be giving to readers at any age, especially for middle grade readers, and I always have a soft spot for books that focus on this. I also appreciated that part of this story focuses on a young girl’s experiences of World War II in a way that relays it to a younger generation with care. I feel that this would help to start conversations or curiosity into what actually happened. The character of Kat was another plus for me – she’s a friendly, creative young girl who stands up to bullies, befriends those who need a shoulder and strives to do the right thing. I particularly liked that she created her own comic books (something that we rarely see girls do in novels) and created her own heroine, Girl 38, who was brave and kind – both things that she wants to be. To add to that, this story is also a fairly quick read with nothing too complex or startling to put off any young readers.
As for what I disliked, Ania’s story really gripped me and I found myself wanting to read more, but when we saw Kat’s every day life, at times I became a little bored. In comparison to Ania’s experiences of WWII, squabbles at school felt almost inconsequential. Now, I am not the target audience for this book so will allow that Kat’s troubles would be more relatable to someone of the same age so this probably wouldn’t be an issue for other readers. Also, I did feel that parts of Ania’s story went by a little more smoothly than is likely to be comparable to any real experiences (of course, I could be wrong about this) – again, this may be due to the middle grade target audience so isn’t a huge problem but stood out to me.
Overall, I would recommend this book, to it’s target audience, as a quick, readable story that introduces important themes and an important period of history. This would be a great way to start up some meaningful conversations about history and friendship that children would benefit from.
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!
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3 thoughts on “Review: Girl 38 by Ewa Jozefkowicz”
I’m not super into middle grade books as I’m a bit old but this book does sound pretty good. Excellent review!
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Thank you! I wouldn’t pick up middle grade books if I didn’t work in the Children’s section of a book shop but I’ve found some spectacular reads there!
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