The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

The Silver Sword

Written by Ian Serraillier
Part of the A Puffin Book Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

A classic story from World War Two, this tells how three children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are helped by the young orphan Jan to escape from the horrors of Warsaw after the arrest of their parents. How the children travel across war torn Europe surviving every kind of danger and privation is thrilling and deeply moving. It is the story of a terrible time made bearable by the strong streak of humanity at its heart and by the unusual acts of kindness the children experience on their travels.

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. On the run in Nazi-occupied Europe, four children try to make their way to Switzerland, led by Jan whose ‘silver sword' (a paper-knife) is their talisman. A desperate and touching story.

Reader Reviews

One of the great and enduring tales of survival, courage and hope. Ian Serrailler tells this extraordinary wartime story simply and directly, so that we feel the full force of its truth -- Michael Morpurgo

As a child I was tremendously moved by Ian Serrailer's The Silver Sword; the combination of childhood heroism in a bleak and horrific environment left me with many questions about the dichotomy of good and evil, as well as the importance of loyal friendship -- John Boyne

One of the most exciting books I've read for a long while Daily Telegraph

One of the most remarkable children's books since 1945 -- Oxford Companion to Children's Literature


The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

Although the silver sword was only a paper knife, it became the symbol of hope and courage which kept the Balicki children and their orphan friend Jan alive through the four years of occupation when they had to fend for themselves. And afterwards it inspired them to keep going on the exhausting and dangerous journey from war-torn Poland to Switzerland, where they hoped to find their parents.

Based on true accounts, this is a moving story of life during and after the Second World War.

About the Author

Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier (September 24, 1912 - November 28, 1994), was a British novelist and poet. Serraillier was best known for his children's books, especially The Silver Sword (1956), a wartime adventure story which was adapted for television by the BBC in 1957 and again in 1971.

As well as children’s novels and poetry, Serrailler produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek myth. Together with his wife Anne he founded the New Windmill Series in 1948, published by Heinemann Educational Books, which set out to provide inexpensive editions of good stories. He continued as co-editor of the series until the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

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Book Info


256 pages
Interest Age: From 8


Ian Serraillier
More books by Ian Serraillier


Puffin Books an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd July 2015




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