The Swallows’ Flight by Hilary McKay

The highly awaited companion to The Skylarks’ War is here and absolutely wonderful. We are back with some of our favourite characters, learning what has happened in the aftermath of WWI and now in the lead up to WWII. The writing is sublime and I was transported back into this classic in the making.

We begin this book with Hans and Eric, as young boys. We follow them in Nazi Germany as they join the ranks of Hitler’s Youth. We then alternate between Clarry, Rupert and the Penrose family in England. We see the younger generation deal with societal hardships and the prospect of another war. From their viewpoint, it all feels very real and you can’t help but feel the fear from both perspectives in the story, the German boys and the British families.

I loved having a German perspective in this book as there is little from that side available to young readers. Many Germans faced the same fears, horrors and battles but they have long been deemed the enemy. Empathy for Hans and Eric comes naturally to the reader! They are instantly likeable.

When the two worlds collide, as they often do in children’s literature, it is heartwarming and perfect! This is such a brilliant and easy read, with rich language and settings, fantastic characters and a story steeped in history.

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