Not your typical Second World War read: the class book review

27th August 2017 at 11:02
Letters from the Lighthouse is an engaging tale of two evacuees on a hunt for their missing sister. Our readers were so drawn into its world that they struggled to believe it wasn't based on a true story

Title: Letters from the Lighthouse
Author: Emma Carroll
Publisher: Faber & Faber

228pp, £6.99 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780571327584 

Teacher review

If you are going to be studying the Second World War, you must include this book. I’ve previously stuck to the typical reads for a Second World War topic (you know the ones), but I am so glad I came across this new find.

Subconsciously, the children absorbed so many facts about the war that they referenced in topic work: it was a great supplement to our history lessons. As a bonus, it is also beautifully written, making it a high-quality text upon which children could model their writing.

If you are a Year 5 or 6 teacher and you don’t own this yet, you are missing out.

Sophie Bartlett is Year 6 teacher at Rivermead Primary School, in Berkshire

Pupil reviews

‘Encouraged me to write my own books’

Letters from the Lighthouse is an engaging tale of two children (Olive and Cliff), who are evacuated to the countryside and desperately hope to find their sister who mysteriously disappeared. I would give this a five-star rating because it is written in such a way that it is hard to believe this didn’t happen and wasn’t written by the young desperate girl herself.

Emma Carroll is an effective narrator, capturing the past and transforming it into a fascinating story. After reading that touching piece of beautiful work, I can’t wait to read another of her novels. I loved how in parts of it there were letters printed upon the page as if you could take it and hold it. When reading the book, it’s as if you are actually there; I found it almost impossible to put down so, when I finished reading it, I was sad it was finished.

I recommend this brilliant fact-filled wonder to ages 8 plus. This book has encouraged me to write my own books and maybe it will for you too. Go and find this splendid read and begin on your way to a lifelike adventure through the book with Olive and Cliff.

Izzy, age 11

‘One of the greatest books I’ve read’

This book is a wonderful mixture of mystery and adventure. It is about a young girl who got evacuated to the countryside. While taking up the responsibility for her younger brother, Olive is desperately trying to find out what happened to her older sister, who went missing.

I really like how Emma Carroll made the theme about World War Two. I love solving mysteries so, personally, I think this is one of the greatest books I’ve read. My favourite character stayed the same throughout the pages: Olive. I feel like I could relate to her in some parts of the books. Some of my favourite parts included Sukie going missing, Olive cracking the code with the help of Ephraim and Esther, and Olive helping with the refugees.

I personally would love a book written from Sukie’s point of view. I rate this book a nine out of 10 as I loved the way she described different areas, and the vocabulary was used perfectly. I would suggest this book to someone who loves mysteries, like me.

Anuva, age 11


‘Could be slightly more descriptive’

I enjoyed this book because it had a great storyline to it.

 Since we started learning about World War Two in school, I have been reading lots of World War One and Two stories, such as Goodnight, Mr Tom and Anne Frank.

Letters from the Lighthouse is definitely one of my favourites. I would rate this book 4.5 stars out of five, because I think it could be slightly more descriptive. I would recommend this book to children aged 8 or above, or anyone who enjoys learning about World War Two.

I love this book because there are some twists to the story which makes everything fit. Overall, I would say that this is a great book and I highly recommend it to any book lover!

Nova, age 11

‘For anyone who loves mysteries and the Second World War’

Letters from the Lighthouse is a good book for anyone who loves mysteries and World War Two. It is a story about a girl called Olive (who has two siblings: an older sister called Sukie and a younger brother, Cliff) whose sister goes missing.

Olive and Cliff get evacuated to Devon to live with their next door neighbour’s sister. After a few weeks, they get moved to live with a lighthouse keeper, who seems to have a strange connection with Sukie’s disappearance.

I’d rate this book a nine out of 10, as it was never dull and a brilliant story, told in a way that made you believe every word. Overall, this is a really good book.

Beth, age 11

If you or your class would like to write a review for Tes, please contact Adi Bloom at

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