Thank you to Helen at Literally Public Relations for inviting me to take part in this Blog Tour and for providing me with a copy of Time School: We Will Honour Them in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is the second book in the Time School series which follows four friends as they travel back to periods in history which have a special connection to each of them. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.
I absolutely loved this gripping time travel adventure which transported me back to a period not long after the end of the Second World War, when its effects were still being strongly felt, which I found absolutely fascinating. It is really wonderful to read a story which both entertains and educates and this story balances both aspects perfectly with a real sense of adventure, discovery and history.
Twelve-year-old Nadia Kaminski has received the sad news that her Polish Grandfather has died. He came to England as a young boy, and it is only when asked to give the eulogy at his funeral that Nadia realises she doesn’t really know much about either his life or her own Polish heritage. This is such a pertinent and powerful reminder of the importance of getting to know the stories of our ancestors and connecting with family history so that we don’t lose our link to the past.
Nadia tells her friends of her loss as they board an old-fashioned steam train. They arrive in an icy, cold Hickley Town and make their way to their current school, but it is not quite as they know it … they have been transported back to the school as it was a couple of years after the end of the Second World War where they find themselves in a race to stop Nadia’s life from unravelling due to a decision being made in the past, a race which sees them uncover some incredible discoveries …
At Hickley School, Nadia witnesses a Polish refugee, Marcel, suffering terrible bullying due to the prejudices of others which led to both hatred and fear which manifested itself in this cruel treatment. Nadia immediately defends Marcel against his attackers, showing her inner strength and sense of fairness. She is courageous in facing her fears and standing up for others regardless of the consequences for herself. Has she been sent back in time to meet Marcel and, if so, why? Will she be able to help him overcome his bullies, and will he be able to help her learn more of her Polish heritage?
I really enjoyed the friendship between Nadia, Jess, Tomma and Ash. They have very different personalities from the adventurous, risk-taking joker Ash to the sensible, wary, more reluctant Jess, but they have a wonderfully strong and secure friendship where they look out for each other, offering comfort and support. I thought it was really wonderful to see the changing dynamics within the friendship between Nadia and Jess as more of an interest in boys occurs, and think this is brilliantly written for its audience.
I loved the richly drawn historical context, making connections between present and past, and the link between the children’s present-day school and what that school was like in the past. Stories like this powerfully illustrate how our history reflects and impacts on our present, and the lessons that can be learned if only we are willing to learn them.
This is a fast-paced, engrossing adventure dealing with themes of bullying, prejudice, grief and refugees. It is also an uplifting story of courage, resilience and friendship showing the connectedness between past and present which I found utterly compelling.
Check out the other stops for this brilliant book: