By: John Boyne
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 9780857532947


The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight - but he broke that promise the following day.

Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name - on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor.

Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by - a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . .



Alfie Summerfield turned five years old the day World War I broke out. This is the story of Alfie’s war.

Alfie thinks his Dad is on a secret special mission and that’s why Dad has stopped writing letters.

One day, when Alfie is shining shoes at Kings Cross station, he unexpectedly discovers that his Dad is in a hospital nearby. But it’s a hospital treating soldiers with mental health problems and Alfie finds it a frightening place when he goes there on his own.

This is a wonderful story of love, hope, sadness, family, courage and one very inquisitive small boy. You will fall in love with Alfie as his character grows up through the difficult war years. John Boyne has a knack of making the most complicated things simple, and this book will give your students much to think about, as it gives us an entirely different look at WWI.

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and both boys and girls, Year 7 and up will thoroughly enjoy it.

Reviewed by Michelle