Katrina Nannestad
ABC: An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

It’s spring, 1942. The sky is blue, the air is warm and sweet with the scent of flowers. And then everything is gone. The flowers, the proud geese, the pretty wooden houses, the friendly neighbours. Only Sasha remains.

But one small boy, alone in war-torn Russia, cannot survive. One small boy without a family cannot survive. One small boy without his home cannot survive. What that small boy needs is an army.

Judges’ Comments

Inspired by a true story this book sensitively deals with the horrors, friendships, hardships and ingenuity that are the products of wartime. The four parts of the story are each foreshadowed by the motifs that Sasha collects, adding meaning to the telling. The parts are also reflected in the title enhancing the meaning-laden story full of sadness, tragedy, hope and joy. Sasha’s innocence is conveyed beautifully, bringing light and joy to what could have been a very dark story. The characters are heart warming and engaging for the readers and a highlight of the story.

Creative Responses