The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

The Silver Sword

Written by Ian Serraillier

9+ readers   11+ readers   The World Wars   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

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.

This edition is part of the Vintage Children's Classics series which is aimed at and shaped by 8-12 year olds, and the adults in their lives. It is a broad, affordable selection of books that will inspire a life-long love of reading; these stories that have secured a place in the hearts of thousands. They are all unabridged. To view all the Vintage Children's Classics titles click here. They are books to be given as gifts, and passed down the generations.

In addition, story hungry children often don't want the adventure to end, so why not take a look at the fully interactive website - World of Stories - which contains lots of extra material - the backstory: with quizzes, activities and fascinating facts about the books and their authors.

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.


The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war. The three children realise that the escapee was their father, the silver sword a message that he is alive and searching for them. Together with Jan they begin a dangerous journey across the battlefields of Europe to find their parents.

Browse inside this book


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 Old-fashioned storytelling about courage at its best The Times One of the most remarkable children's books since 1945 -- Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

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.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


256 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Ian Serraillier
More books by Ian Serraillier


Vintage Classics an imprint of Vintage

Publication date

2nd August 2012




Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

I love lovereading4kids because I’ve read amazing books I would never have picked up, and its opened doors to new genre’s I now love.

Harriet Cunningham

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

LoveReading4Kids is a modern and creative way of emphasising the value and importance of books in this digital age #booksforlife

Amrit Bunet – Teen

I am so pleased to have signed my kids up as they are reading a much wider range of books and even choosing books out of their comfort zone.

Angela East

It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

I love Lovereading because I often never know what to read and this helps you find a good book. I have recommended this to many people.

Shannon-Louise Masters – age 15

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

Lovereading 4 schools