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Helen Watts is a writer, editor and publisher. Her experience spans magazine, book and online publishing for children and teachers and she has written and produced fiction, non-fiction and classroom resources on a vast range of topics - from The Olympic Games and the football World Cup to cyber-bullying and teenage fashion. Helen is also the Schools Coordinator for the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival.
She is married with two children – Jack and Georgia - and lives in Warwickshire.
June 2013 Book of the Month This powerful novel tells the shocking story behind the decimation of an entire French village by SS Troops towards the end of World War II - and of the escape of the only surviver, a seven year old boy. The author brings vividly to life the terrible human cost of war. One Day in Oradour is based on true events in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane on 10th June 1944. The village has been in the news spotlight again in recent months because of a new German investigation into the massacre following the arrest of six former SS soldiers believed to have been involved in the killings. With a twist in the tale, this is a story which leaves the reader surprised, inspired and profoundly moved. A Piece of Passion from Kate Paice, Commissioning Editor, Bloomsbury Publishing When I started to read this story, I’d never heard of Oradour. By the time I’d finished, I knew I’d never forget it. This fictionalized account of the terrible events that took place in a small, peaceful village one hot summer’s day grabbed me from the moment I opened it, and builds up with almost unbearable tension. It’s a tragic, hard-hitting story, and Helen Watts doesn’t shrink from showing us that, but what makes it linger in the memory is the hope she shows us - the love of ordinary families, the amazing courage of a little boy, and the flicker of humanity we sometimes see in even the hardest of hearts. Helen Watts writes...It was a visit to the memorial village at Oradour-sur-Glane. I arrived knowing nothing and left with a head still full of questions about the hundreds of amazing stories waiting to be discovered among the fire-scorched rubble. And it was the unforgettable photograph in the museum there, of seven-year-old orphan Roger Godfrin standing amid the ruins of his former home, the only schoolchild to escape from the massacre. The same photograph which ended up on my front cover.
Kelly, a Traveller girl, is isolated and unhappy at her new school. Until the hot summer day when she meets Ben. Ben offers to help Kelly with her history project. It's just schoolwork - except that the investigation quickly becomes compelling. Strange puzzles are revealed. A dark secret of the local quarry comes to life. Soon the mystery of the past is spilling into the present - and into Kelly's own life. Kelly must bring the long-buried truth to light. And she will leave no stone unturned... A tense, moving mystery with brilliant historical detail of Victorian life, by the author of the Carnegie-nominated One Day In Oradour.
As the Great War raged, and in its aftermath, people created hundreds of legends and stories round it, to speak of the sadness, the heroism, the deaths. Author Helen Watts and storyteller Taffy Thomas bring together this compelling, moving collection of ghost stories and mysteries from both sides of the conflict, from the haunted U-boat to the ghost of the trenches.
On a hot summer afternoon in 1944, SS troops wiped out an entire French village. 644 men, women and children died that day. Just one child survived. This book tells the story of what happened in Oradour, and imagines what drove both the SS officer who ordered the massacre, and the seven-year-old boy who escaped it. Powerful, moving and almost unbearably tense, this book weaves the truth about what happened to the people in Oradour into a powerful fictional story centred on two characters: the plucky, inspirational seven-year-old Alfred Fournier, refugee and resident of Oradour, and the hot-headed, power-hungry SS commander who shattered his world and changed his life for ever, Major Gustav Dietrich. As their two worlds collide, we gain a fascinating insight into the extremes and contradictions of human behaviour and emotion. With a twist in the tale, this is a story which leaves the reader surprised, inspired and profoundly moved.
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