Reading About the Channel Islands

A few months ago I’d never heard of the Channel Islands off the coast of France. And then, on the urging of my brother and his wife, we watched an old Masterpiece Theater series out on DVD called “Island at War,” which was a fascinating fictional account of three island families during the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. We loved it!

And then, a few weeks later, I began to read book blog ARC reviews of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows. Reading those reviews, I knew I had to get this book as soon as it was published, which I did (and then shortly after had to go out and buy a another copy to send to my mother for her birthday). It is just a treasure of a book — my favorite of the year so far! There are so many excellent reviews of it on my friends’ blogs, so I won’t write a synopsis of it here, but encourage you to visit the links below to read about the story. There’s also a link to the University of Washington bookstore blog, which had a fun post about which actors would fit the parts if it were ever to be made into a movie!
Lesley’s Book Nook
My Random Acts of Reading
Read Warbler
University of Washington bookstore

But my learning about the Channel Islands during the war didn’t stop there! (It’s that old “synchronicity” thing happening again!) At the end of July, I was sent a review copy of an adventure book for young people, Nick of Time by Ted Bell, and it, too, takes place in the Channel Islands during the war years (and in 1805 because it involves some time travel!) I’m about half-way through that book, and am enjoying it immensely. (My 6th graders would have loved it!) It’s a page-turner adventure, complete with Nazi U-Boats, pirates, lots of sailing, and lots of fun. I think of it as a combination of a Brian Jacques story and Treasure Island! Highly recommended as a read alone for those intermediate and junior high readers, or as a read aloud for the whole family, even though I’m not finished with it yet. It’s fun! Click here to listen to the author talk about Nick of Time.

So now, fascinated by this sudden encounter with a place I knew nothing about, I’m finding myself dreaming of visiting the Channel Islands some day!

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9 thoughts on “Reading About the Channel Islands

  1. Kay

    Nice blog entry, Robin. YOu know, I think there was a quote in GUERNSEY about one book subeject or topic leading to another and to another and to another. I have loaned my copy out to a co-worker, so I can’t look it up. I thought of that in reading your thoughts.

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  2. Robin

    Thanks, Kay. I found it! Here it is:
    That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive — all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.

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  3. Ted Bell

    Robin,
    Thanks for the kind words about NICK. I thought you might be interested to know that I am half way through writing the sequel (St. Martin’s has bought it as a series) to be called THE REVOLUTIONARY SPY. It picks up where Nick leaves off, with the Nazi invasion of the island and how Nick and his friends cause no end of trouble to the Germans. Time travel takes Nick
    back to 1781 to aid Washington at Yorktown (can’t spoil it but it makes sense) and I think it’s a worthy follow-up. Thanks again, Ted Bell

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  4. Nymeth

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was already in my wishlist thanks to all the wonderful blog reviews I’ve seen lately…now I must add Nick of Time as well. It sounds like something I’d really enjoy.

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  5. J.Danger

    I love it when that happens! It seems like every other week I am telling my husband “We should move here or there”! Its the best!

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  6. Robin

    Ted, thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting on my post! I’m am thoroughly enjoying the book and am excited to hear that it will be a series. I look forward to reading the second book, when you finish writing it.
    Best wishes,
    Robin

    Nymeth, both books are very enjoyable and I think you’d like
    them!

    J. Danger, you’re a kindred spirit! I become fascinated by a place and wish I could just go there. A world traveler through my reading…

    Nan, yes, I think it would be a very nice read aloud for a seventh or eighth grade classroom. There’s some nice learning and important positive messages in it, as well as plenty of adventure, that make it a good book to read aloud. I’d be interested in what you and Tom would think of it.

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  7. Cath

    It’s just so wonderful the way one book leads to another. The Charles Lamb book of essays mentioned in Guernsey rang a real bell with me and when I checked I found I had it on my tbr mountain. I shall obviously be reading it at some stage.

    A lovely post and thank you for the link.

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  8. Robin

    Thanks, Cath! I’ve had Tales from Shakespeare on my shelf for years, so his name was familiar, but I knew nothing about him. Now I would definitely like to know more, and I’d like to read those essays, too.

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