A powerful and heart-breaking novel about three childhood friends living during the Second World War whose fates are closely intertwined, even when their lives take very different courses. A Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, this is the perfect story for readers of Private Peaceful, The Book Thief and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Three friends.
Two sides. One memory. Vienna.
1936. Three young friends – Leo, Elsa and Max – spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness, and that events soon mean that they will be cruelly ripped apart from each other. With their lives taking them across Europe – to Germany, England, Prague and Poland – will they ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to? Inspired by a true story, WHEN THE WORLD WAS OURS is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking, and shows how the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.
Praise for When the World Was Ours: ‘An exceptional read’ The Sunday Times, Children’s Book of the Week ‘When The World Was Ours is Liz’s masterpiece . . .
an instant classic’ Anthony McGowan, winner of the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal ‘A wonderful book, half tragedy, but told with such sheer, warm humanity that it leaves you with hope’ Hilary McKay, author of The Skylarks’ War ‘I haven’t read a Holocaust book for children that’s better’ Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller ‘A powerful, sombre and moving account’ The Financial Times ‘When The World Was Ours is the most wonderful, terrible, powerful, important book I have read in years and years. It is so good, so real, so unflinching’ Cathy Cassidy ‘When The World Was Ours is an exceptionally powerful book based on Liz’s family’s extraordinary escape from Nazi occupied countries . .
. a book I hope will be read and discussed by children everywhere’ Francesca Simon ‘An absolute masterpiece!’ Keren David, author of What We’re Scared Of ‘This is a tour de force, a book about friendship and what happens when hate is institutionalised, but most of all it’s a book about love’ Catherine Johnson ‘Utterly, utterly gut-churningly brilliant. It’s a superb piece of writing.
It should win everything going’ Tanya Landman ‘This stunning book is going to make you rage, and cry, and yelp with joy, then cry and rage again. A genuine tour de force from Liz Kessler. I couldn’t put it down except to wipe away tears’ Joanna Nadin ‘This striking Holocaust story was a real passion project for Liz Kessler and it shows.
Begins in Vienna in the 1930s, following the fortunes of three friends over the following years. Inevitable ugly crying at the end’ Karen McCombie ‘When The World Was Ours is a gut-wrenching story of friendship torn apart by war. I can’t recommend it highly enough’ Anna Wilson ‘An unstoppable read – compassionate, angry and uplifting all at once’ Katherine Langrish ‘I just finished When The World Was Ours and I’m in tears.
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything so powerful, shocking or moving. Such an important book – it truly deserves to fly’ Emma Pass ‘This book is completely engaging and will engross young (and older) readers . .
. it will prove to be very important, and widely read and recommended’ Linda Newbery ‘The most powerful book about the Holocaust I’ve ever read . .
. it is an utterly stunning, and important, read. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time, and would urge everyone to read it’ Kerry Drewery ‘Powerful, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and timely.
This story of three friends will be etched in my mind for a very long time. What an incredible novel’ Emma Perry ‘Very moved by the new Liz Kessler novel . .
. the story and the story behind it. I wish I was a Costa judge next year as well’ John McLay ‘Powerful, heart-wrenching’ Leila Rasheed