After the War

Cover: Violet Tobacco

Summer 1945. The Second World War is finally over and Yossi, Leo and Mordecai are among three hundred children who arrive in the English Lake District.

Having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover.

Will life by the beautiful Lake Windermere be enough to bring hope back into all their lives?

Publication date : 6 August 2020 by Barrington Stoke.

Find now at your local library, local independent bookshops,  Waterstones, Amazon and Kindle.  10% of author royalties will be donated to the Lake District Holocaust Project.

A moving and thought-provoking read which shares the experiences of the Windermere Children. Tom has worked carefully with survivors, including members of our much-loved survivor family, to create a book which captures many of their memories of arrival and first months in Britain. For students, ‘After the War’ will be a first glimpse into the importance of listening, and witnessing to, the testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust.’ Louise Stafford, Director of Learning, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum

“When Tom Palmer approached me to ask if he could write a book about the Jewish children and their stay in the Lake District, I was immediately taken by his desire to totally immerse himself in the story. We worked with him on this extraordinary book project and he was always full of the same compassion as those who helped the children in their early days of recovery. He was also utterly dedicated to doing the story justice, and I am sure you will see that he has. It is a story from the past, told in the present, with lessons for us all for the future. ” TREVOR AVERY

“This is such an important book in telling the story of survival of the holocaust… The narrative – told through the eyes of Yossi, flits between being set in The Lake District and the haunting devastating flashbacks of the characters in Nazi-occupied Poland as they struggle to come to terms with all that they’ve experienced…Beautiful, evocative and often troubling, we see Yossi unravel at one stage, the trauma too much to bear.

Whilst we in no way feel that the situation we are living through now is comparable to the unimaginable horrors experienced during the holocaust, the idea of a threat and the shock and disbelief that this brings and then getting through a situation only to then struggle to comprehend it will be a familiar one for many just now. And fear: the worry for some that they won’t feel safe or truly happy again.

This is such a hope-filled and uplifting read and we think it will be an important addition to year 4-6 classes as well as being a great read-aloud novel for evenings at home with children who are aged 9 and up.”   The Literacy Curriculum

Launch News

Signed books from @bookcornerHX

Follow my #AFTERTHEWAR ROAD TRIP on 20 July 2020 here.

Watch my films about researching and writing After the War and join me for morning coffee in my office for the book launch here.

Join the Chicken & Frog online book club on Thursday 6 September.

Resources

READ Chapter 1 here

 

 

A book cover prediction sheet. Look at the cover of After the War and answer questions about what you think the story might be about here.

 

Paper dolls. Work as a family to decorate paper dolls of the children. Then put it up as bunting to  mark the 75th anniversary of their liberation here

 

Comprehension. Read the section of the book where the children talk about their very different experiences of VE Day, then answer some questions here.

 

 

Black Out poetry. Create your own black out poetry using a VE Day scene from After the War here.

 

 

Book trailer here

Films of the settings about research and writing After the War

 

 

Check out our gallery of school responses to After the War here.

For more resources and a free chapter in advance of publication please email admin@tompalmer.co.uk

If you want to know more about this book please use the form below.  Please be patient.  Our replies are not automated so you will get a personal reply.

Researching After the War

I really applaud the way you’ve got so many historical details into such a short text, and made it emotional too. It’s honestly brilliant, and I’ll be recommending it to all the Jewish schools, and reminding HET about it. You haven’t shied away from those cruel and harsh memories, and you’ve represented it very fairly. I should think the survivors would be pleased at your perpetuation of their memories. ” CLARE ZINKIN book blogger and teacher

“What a brilliant way for many thousands of children to learn the truth about the Holocaust, as well as the value of friends and family.” MARION FOTHERGILL, former resident of the Calgarth Estate

Read my blog about reading and writing history for the FCBG here.

Writing After the War

This year, I have been heavily researching and planning a new children’s story, After the War.

 

I am very grateful to have the kind support of key witnesses, d from Trevor Avery and the Lake District Holocaust Project and from pupils at Grasmere Primary.

There are many stages to my writing “process” but here’s an indication …

Stage 1

 

 

 

 

Stage 2

 

 

 

 

Stage 3

 

 

 

 

 

If you are want to know more about how I write – often useful for teachers to show pupils – I have some short writing tips films here.

“With ‘After the War’, Tom Palmer cements his place as one of the very finest historical storytellers for children. No word is wasted, no emotion left untapped. This book may be slight in its page length, but its story of brotherhood is huge of heart.” Phil Earle

Q&A with Tom

Why did children come from the Holocaust to England?

Tom: They needed to get away from a war torn Europe where food was scarce. Even though the war was over and the Nazis defeated, the children could not go home. The locals on their home countries had stolen many of their houses and possessions, so it was dangerous for them to go home.

 Did you meet any of the children in the story?

Tom: Yes, I met and talked to three of them and have worked with a man who had interviewed dozens of them. That means I am very confident what I have written is authentic: it is based in real events. I wanted to make sure of that to be respectful to the memory of those who survived and those who didn’t.

What age is this for?

Tom: After the War is for children aged 10 plus. I wrote it with selected Year 5 Grasmere School pupils, but a few Y5s might find the subject matter too intense. The Y5s I worked with said they wanted to know what happened in the Holocaust. They wanted the facts so they can understand. So I made the book more about the facts than trying to evoke intense emotional reactions.

Was it hard to know how best to write about the Holocaust?

Tom: Yes. Very. I took a lot of advice at every stage and even did a course on teaching the Holocaust in schools. These things need to be spot on. The Auschwitz Memorial tweeted recently: “Inventing a fake game of human chess … is not only dangerous foolishness [and] caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy.”

Please email me here if you have any questions about writing After the War.

Useful links

www.holocaustremembrance.com Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust guide here

www.worldjewishrelief.org/theboys – gives information about their role in the rescue and features some of the children’s brief stories

www.worldjewishrelief.org/kindertransport – they were also instrumental in organising the kindertransport and this page has more information.

www.worldjewishrelief.org/archives – more information about the files they hold

The Lake District Holocaust Project http://ldhp.org.uk/

Reviews

‘A moving and thought-provoking read which shares the experiences of the Windermere Children. Tom has worked carefully with survivors, including members of our much-loved survivor family, to create a book which captures many of their memories of arrival and first months in Britain. For students, ‘After the War’ will be a first glimpse into the importance of listening, and witnessing to, the testimonies of survivors of the Holocaust.’  Louise Stafford Director of Learning, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum

“It was so well written that – although we can never imagine or put ourselves within this experience – it made the reader really develop an emotional connection to the characters and what they went through.  I truly believe that it is important children learn of the Holocaust and how harrowing this period in history is, in order to prevent anything like this happening again. It shows them how dangerous prejudices can be, as well as teaching them compassion.  Tom’s book not only helps with this, but does so in a way which helps children build empathy and understanding of something which is quite a difficult subject to comprehend.  The characters created, which are based on some real documented experiences, feel authentic and are well developed. Alongside the three main characters, there are some important interactions they have with ‘supporting’ characters from both the surrounding community and beyond. I really liked that it was included that there was still prejudice in England towards the Jewish community; England wasn’t painted as a solely peaceful country for them to escape to. It is important to recognise this.  I really do believe this is a book that should be on every classroom shelf. I know I’ll be using extracts myself around during Holocaust Memorial, alongside factual accounts and poetry to help children begin to access the topic.”  The TeacherBookwork.com

“The sense of brotherhood in this book floored me. It’s gripping, tough, meticulously researched and you feel that in every page. That – and its huge heart.” Phil Earle

“What an immensely beautiful & heartfelt story you have created. I don’t have the right words to truly express the impact this book has had on me. But my goodness it was a story that needed to be told & you have done it so well. I love how you have shown how the War impacted/affected the lives of so many, & in so many ways. It must have been an extremely difficult story to create, but you have crafted a most wonderful tale. The story of Yossi, Leo & Mordecai will be forever engrained in the hearts and minds of the reader & therefore these horrific events will not be forgotten. I will be encouraging colleagues in UKS2 & KS3 to share this with their pupils Using the words from Trevor Avery: ‘It is a story from the past, told in the present, with lessons for us all in the future.’ Truly an exceptional book.” VALDA VARADINEK (teacher)

“It’s really powerful. Really good. I think it’s particularly hard-hitting as its told in such simple language – I really applaud the way you’ve got so many historical details into such a short text, and made it emotional too. It’s honestly brilliant, and I’ll be recommending it to all the Jewish schools, and reminding HET about it. You haven’t shied away from those cruel and harsh memories, and you’ve represented it very fairly. I should think the survivors would be pleased at your perpetuation of their memories. ” CLARE ZINKIN book blogger and teacher

“What a brilliant way for many thousands of children to learn the truth about the Holocaust, as well as the value of friends and family.” MARION FOTHERGILL, former resident of the Calgarth Estate

“When Tom Palmer approached me to ask if he could write a book about the Jewish children and their stay in the Lake District, I was immediately taken by his desire to totally immerse himself in the story. We worked with him on this extraordinary book project and he was always full of the same compassion as those who helped the children in their early days of recovery. He was also utterly dedicated to doing the story justice, and I am sure you will see that he has. It is a story from the past, told in the present, with lessons for us all for the future. ” TREVOR AVERY

“We thought the book was terrific, Kim obviously thought it was great too.  You have done an amazing job on pulling it all together, on a very difficult and hard subject to cover, particularly for children. ” ROSEMARY SMITH

“How do people find the strength to endure the unendurable? How can they rebuild their lives after witnessing the very worst of what human beings can do to one another? How can love and friendship survive the horrific brutality of war and genocide? After the War tackles these huge questions by following the journey of three boys rescued from Nazi concentration camps at the end of the Second World War. After they are taken to Lake Windermere to recover, we see them struggle to come to terms with the loss of everyone they’ve ever known and to put the horrors of the camps behind them. This powerful story of a friendship forged in the worst of circumstances is ultimately a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and a moving act of remembrance.” AILSA BATHGATE

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