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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Ice Road (The)
by Jaap ter Haar
Age Range: 12+
It is 1942 and the German army surrounds Leningrad. The citizens are being
bombarded day and night, no one can get out, no food can get in and the
temperature is below zero. Plans are being made to evacuate the children from
the city and 12-year-old Boris Morenkoís mother wants him to go too. However,
the Ice Road stretches across Lake Ladoga and is the only way out of the city.
Many have perished on this treacherous journey across the ice, including Borisís
father. Food is strictly rationed and Borisís mother is ill. Desperate for food, Boris
and his best friend Nadia take a perilous trek behind enemy lines in search of
potatoes. It is a dangerous mission but the need to find food drives them on.
When they receive help from an unexpected source, Boris is given a whole new
perception of the war.
Jaap ter Haarís novel is an uplifting and thought-provoking book that evokes the terrible hardships of the nine-hundred-day siege of Leningrad during the Second World War. It is a story of survival, bravery, friendship, compassion and the understanding that can come from shared suffering.
(Outside In: Childrenís Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)