Haywire by Claire Saxby
Australia's Second World War series. Omnibus Books, 2020.
ISBN: 9781742769196. 240pp.
(Age: 12-16). Highly recommended. The second book in a new series of stories about the second World War, this story follows the journeys of two adolescent boys who are affected by the War, one living in an outback town in Australia and one living in Germany at the time Hitler invaded Poland. Claire Saxby has written the story in alternating chapters to tell their stories alongside one another which gives the reader a complete picture of how the war impacted children around the world.
Tom Hanlon has been forced to give up his dreams of becoming a doctor to help in his family's bakery when his two brothers go to fight in Europe. He resents the fact that he can't follow his dreams but commits to staying and assisting at home.
Max is a young boy whose family is in trouble in Germany because of their political beliefs and they decide to send him to live with his uncle in England. This is a temporary solution as England decides to put all Germans and Italians into internment camps, first in England and then in Australia or Canada. Max endures so much on his journey to Australia and when he arrives at the Internment camp in Hay all he wants is a quiet life. But he still must suffer the attentions of some bullies in the camp and quickly learns to be helpful in the kitchen where these bullies never go. There he meets Tom, who is delivering bread from his bakery to the Internment camp. They quickly form a friendship and tell each other their hopes and dreams. Both wish they could escape their lives, Max to go back home to Germany and Tom to go and study in Sydney.
The first book in this series is War and resistance by Sophie Masson and both books contain a great mix of historical fact and entertaining drama and will keep any reader absorbed to the end. They would be a great addition to the Year 10 History work as they present lots of opportunities to research some of what happened to the children during wartime. Themes: World war II, Boys, Friendship, Family, Prejudice.