kids encyclopedia robot

The War That Saved My Life facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
The War that Saved My Life
The War That Saved My Life.jpg
Author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical Fiction
Publisher Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 316
Followed by The War I Finally Won 

The War that Saved My Life, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is a 2015 children’s historical novel published by Dial Books for Young Readers. The War that Saved My Life was a Newbery Honor Book in 2016 and was Bradley’s first Newbery Honor Book.


This story is about a ten-year-old girl who has never left her apartment in London, as her mother 'Mam' is too embarrassed to let her go outside because of her clubfoot, even though she claims Ada is "simple" and "not right in the head" instead. The one time Ada tried to escape their small one-bedroom apartment, her mother beat her until her shoulders bled and were sobbing. If Ada is really bad, she gets put in a little cabinet under the sink where many, many roaches live. She is used as a servant and cooks and takes care of her six-year-old brother Jamie and her Mam.

In September 1939, World War II has started. The British government begins to evacuate children in Britain during World War II to escape from the war, sending them to the countryside. Ada’s mother refuses to send Ada saying nobody will want to take care of her. Meanwhile, Ada has spent all summer teaching herself how to walk and decides to leave with Jamie without their mother knowing. Susan, a woman who lives in the village, is forced to take Ada and Jamie in. Susan lives alone in a house with two floors and makes it very clear that she does not want kids, thinking she is not fit to care for them. Ada's experience in the countryside is very different from her life in London, as she is able to go outside and communicate with others. Ada's low self-esteem makes her not want to get used to living with Susan. In the countryside, Ada teaches herself how to ride a horse. She learns how to read and write. She also learns that her clubfoot has nothing to do with her intelligence whatsoever.

After months of Susan trying to contact Ada's mother for permission to operate on Ada's foot, Ada's mother comes and takes the children away, angry that Ada is where people can see her. She brings them back to London where she has moved to a new apartment and throws Ada's crutches away. Continuing to abuse Ada more and more, she is not interested in taking care of her or Jamie and only moved them back because it was going to be cheaper for her. As London is bombed, Ada and Jamie leave the house to find shelter, where they see that Susan has come back for them. After that, Ada confronts her mother and finds a way for her and Jamie to move in permanently with Susan. The story ends with Ada and Jamie being able to live with Susan after a bomb struck Susan's home while they were away, completely obliterating it. Ada and Jamie return the favor of Susan taking them in by saving Susan's life from the bombs.

Main characters

  • Ada Smith: A ten-year-old girl whose right foot is affected by clubfoot. She has been emotionally and physically abused by her mother. While living in the countryside with Susan, Ada learns how to walk, ride a horse, read, and write.
  • Jamie Smith: Ada's six-year-old brother. He discovers his passion for planes when he and Ada move to the countryside.
  • Susan Smith: Ada's designated guardian, who learns to love and take care of both Ada and Jamie.
  • Mam: Ada and Jamie's mother. An uncaring, stern, aggressive, and abusive mother who continuously blames Ada for her "ugly foot".
kids search engine
The War That Saved My Life Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.