I picked up Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne at my local library when they were selling books for ten cents each. Like his book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, this story is told from the young main character's point of view.
Although I am not a huge fan of Boyne's writing style, his books resonate with students because of the repetition and simple word choices. He also explains difficult concepts in a way that children can understand.
What I like about this book is that he address battle fatigue, shell shock, PTSD in the soldiers of WWI. This subject isn't often brought up in children's literature, but is it is one that is important to understand.
When Alfie is trying to save his dad, I didn't know if I should cheer for or against him, as his dad was getting medical care, but what the medical profession knew about PTSD at that time wasn't a lot, and the treatments were not ideal.
This book could bring out a good discussions on the ethics surrounding war such as: when is it okay to take something that doesn't belong to you, is it okay to remove a patient from medical care, how old should a child be to be left on their own, or should a person be allowed to avoid the draft if they don't believe in fighting? Boyne doesn't give the reader the answers to these questions but allows the reader to decide for themselves. I like that he respects his reader enough to allow them to do this.
Read to a child today even if that child is you.