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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099572855
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $14.99
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The Silver Sword




A moving tale of survival, heroism and the courage of children, as Ruth, Edek and Bronia hunt for their parents across the battlefields of Europe

Discover this amazing adventure story set in the Second World War

'If you meet Ruth or Edek or Bronia, you must tell them I'm going to Switzerland to find their mother. Tell them to follow as soon as they can’

Having lost their parents in the chaos of war, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are left alone to fend for themselves and hide from the Nazis amid the rubble and ruins of their city. They meet a ragged orphan boy, Jan, who treasures a paperknife - a silver sword - which was entrusted to him by an escaped prisoner of war. The three children realise that the escapee was their father, the silver sword a message that he is alive and searching for them. Together with Jan they begin a dangerous journey across the battlefields of Europe to find their parents.

BACKSTORY: Read a letter from the author's daughter and find out about the amazing true stories that inspired The Silver Sword.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099572855
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $14.99

About the Author

Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier (September 24, 1912 - November 28, 1994), was a British novelist and poet. Serraillier was best known for his children's books, especially the Silver Sword (Novel) (1956), a wartime adventure story which was adapted for television by the BBC in 1957 and again in 1971.

Born in London, Serraillier was educated at Brighton College, and took his degree at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He became an English teacher, first at World War II. It was during this period that his first published work appeared, in the form of poetry for both adults and children. In 1946 his first children's novel was published. It was followed by several more adventure stories of treasure and spies. His best known work, The Silver Sword, was published in 1956 and has become a classic, bringing to life the story of four refugee children and their search for their parents in the chaos of Europe immediately after World War II.

As well as children's novels and poetry, Serrailler produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek myth. Together with his wife Anne he founded the New Windmill Series in 1948, published by Heinemann Educational Books, which set out to provide inexpensive editions of good stories. He continued as co-editor of the series until the onset of Alzheimer's disease


Praise for The Silver Sword

“One of the great and enduring tales of survival, courage and hope. Ian Serrailler tells this extraordinary wartime story simply and directly, so that we feel the full force of its truth”

Michael Morpurgo

“As a child I was tremendously moved by Ian Serrailer's The Silver Sword; the combination of childhood heroism in a bleak and horrific environment left me with many questions about the dichotomy of good and evil, as well as the importance of loyal friendship”

John Boyne

“One of the most exciting books I've read for a long while”

Daily Telegraph

“Old-fashioned storytelling about courage at its best”

The Times

“One of the most remarkable children's books since 1945”

Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

“So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics!”

National Association for the Teaching of English


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