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London Book Fair – Reading Poland

  • Submitted: 14th March 2017

This year’s London Book Fair has come around once again and it starts today. Poland is the country focus this year so I’ve got my booktrailer radar alert and active and am going to nab a few ideas and insights for the Booktrail.

But it also got my interest for another reason – putting Poland on the map so to speak and that got me thinking of how I’ve travelled to Poland myself via booktrails and what I’ve discovered about this fascinating country that may or may not be on your BookTrail radar. Well, it should be, there’s a lot to discover:


Favourite five so far:

ADestination: Radom –     We Were the Lucky Ones – Georgia Hunter

Book: 1939: War comes to Poland..and the Jews are forced to flee. This is the story of the remarkable Kurc family.

Trail:  From the quiet life of Radom, Poland, to the horrors of the Siberian gulag, this is a story of one family’s courageous attempts at escape from the war so they might one day be together and return to their beloved country. There are mentions of many European cities – Paris, Warsaw and cities in Italy and Brazil, but it’s in Poland and the Ukraine where the real story unfolds.

Postcard review:  I had to sit and think after reading this. I hope the author is proud of this book and proud of the memory it reawakens of her family. How one family escaped , how they managed to survive the ways they did, is testament to their strength. When your entire identity is being erased with pogroms, renamed street signs, new terms and conditions as to what you can and can’t do, when your home is destroyed and even your faith is being taken away, where else do you go?

FOURDestination: Warsaw – The Cats in Krasinski Square – Karen Hesse

Book:  WW2: A true story of the love between humans and animals even during the horrors of war

Trail:  Based on real events, this is the story of a Jewish girl living in Warsaw during WWII and what happens when a group of stray cats help her most unexpected ways.

Postcard review: This book is written for children but carries such a lovely yet heartbreaking message, it is good for people of all ages really. The horrors of war seen through the eyes of a young girl and a group cats brings the heartbreak to the fore. It’s a unique way of telling a story of war and the fact it’s all based on true events is just remarkable


TWODestination: Auschwitz – The Constant Soldier – William Ryan

Book:  WW2: A unique and heartbreaking portrayal of war and how the human spirit tries to survive

Trail:  Sometime in 1945, a SS officer called Karl Hocker put together an album of photographs which together documented his service in the German Rechsgau. This at the time was the Reichsgau or Upper Silesia. The photographs were lost to time until they were eventually found and put in the Holocaust museum in the USA. They are not as innocent as they might appear.

Postcard Review: Remarkable and utterly compelling


THREEDestination: Krakow- The Diplomat’s Wife – Pam Jenoff

Book: An unique insight into the Polish occupation under the Nazis..

Trail: I knew nothing of the Polish resistance and the ghettos as described in this book and oh! when when Emma did what she had to do. The lying, the cheating to save yourself and your family. There was an interesting angle also done by writing the emotions and feelings of the Nazi Kommandant of the title

Postcard Review: Pam Jenoff is an author who really captures the evil yet also the human side of war. This was a fascinating angle to read about and I felt very mixed emotions about reading what the Nazi officer might be like. It’s a brilliant read though and I was on tenterhooks throughout!


AADestination: Auschwitz – The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas

Book:  WW2: Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us . . .

Trail: The view from Auschwitz and that horrific time seen through the eyes of two young boys, one at each side of the dividing iron mesh fence

Postcard Review:  I’m still sobbing! A heartbreaking story in every sense of the word.


Susan Booktrailer @thebooktrailer

See the full map for the top ten and come back  after the LBF to find out many more and really start your Polish  Literary Journey! More destinations in Poland and more Polish writers writing about many others places not just their homeland. Books from Poland in every way!



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