Two Jewish children are sent from Nazi-occupied Austria to a refugee farm in Northern Ireland. Will they ever see their families again? Based on the true story of Millisle refugee farm in Ards, Co Down.
Karl and Rosa's family watch in horror as Hitler's troops parade down the streets of their home city -- Vienna. It has become very dangerous to be a Jew in Austria, and after their uncle is sent to Dachau, Karl and Rosa's parents decide to send the children out of the country on a Kindertransport, one of the many ships carrying refugee children away from Nazi danger.
Isolated and homesick, Karl ends up in Millisle, a run-down farm in Ards in Northern Ireland, which has become a Jewish refugee centre, while Rosa is fostered by a local family.
Hard work on the farm keeps Karl occupied, although he still waits desperately for any news from home. Then he makes friends with locals Peewee and Wee Billy, and also with the girls from neutral Dublin who come to help on the farm, especially Judy. But Northern Ireland is in the war too, with rationing and air-raid warnings, and, in April 1941 the bombs of the Belfast Blitz bring the reality of war right to their doorstep.
And for Karl and Rosa and the other refugees there is the constant fear that they may never see their parents again.
Based on a true story -- there was a refugee farm at Millisle and among its occupants was a young boy called Karl.
'The main characters are appealing, and the setting is intriguing in this well-researched novel by an Irish author. The real strength of the book, however, lies in its realistic portrayal of Karl's feelings and of the friendships he makes in his new surroundings.'
'It's a gripping read.'
'an absorbing new book from Marilyn Taylor ... a remarkable blend of fiction and historical fact, which also reveals a relatively unknown facet of World War Two.'
'Based on the Dublin author's research into the real Jewish refugee farm in Millisle set up during the war, the book is a moving story of courage, prejudice and the ability of young people to cope with the most difficult challeges.'
'sensitively unfolds a touching story of the anguish suffered by Jewish refugee chidren sent to a farm in County Down during the Second World War. The pathos, suffering and bravery are overwhelming. But for me, it is Taylor's skill in building three-dimensional characters which makes this book so outstanding. This is a story which stays with the reader, long after the final page has been turned.'
'It seems to me that one of the most important elements of successful writing for modern teenagers is respect for the readers. To show that respect my golden rules are, first, not to preach at them; second, not to underestimate them; and, third, to make sure that what they are being offered is as accurate, authentic and as true as it can be. And for the latter, research, though not the whole story, is the key.'
'Every young adult should read this book. It is history, written with the gripping reality of fiction. It is a story which, like Anne Frank's diary, brings home to us all the horrific misery inflicted by the Nazis -- and the need to ensure that we never allow it to happen again.'
'It conveys brilliantly the insecurities of children in a refugee situation, charts an interesting aspect of Irish history and provides sharp insights into the difficulties facing refugees.'
'by far the most successful fictional interpretation of the kindertransports. A very well constructed and beautifully written narrative. While this book is suitable for the lower secondary years, it has proved to have much impact on home older juniors in England.'
'Unflinchingly honest but radiating a belief in basic human decency, [Marilyn Taylor's books] make for an illuminating read for adults and kids alike.'
'Taylor handles the many story threads skillfully, pulling them together in a satisfying way as the story concludes ... compelling'
Since the publication of Faraway Home and especially since it was chosen as the 1999/2000 Children's Books Ireland/Bisto Book of the Year, Marilyn Taylor has spoken in numerous schools and libraries all over Ireland, North and South. The visit to Millisle Primary School, which was the inspiration for the book, had special meaning. Here the author talks about the experience.
Author Marilyn Taylor recently spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Evening in Northern Ireland. Marilyn has researched the Holocaust extensively as part of her work as a writer. One of her most popular books, Faraway Home, is about two Jewish children sent from Nazi-occupied Austria to a refugee farm in Northern Ireland. This is based on the true story of the refugee farm in Millisle, County Down. Here is an excerpt from Marilyn’s moving speech on the night.
Download RBFS: Teaching ideas for sixth class from O'Brien Reading Programme
Download Teaching Guides: Finding Refuge: The Millisle Farm Story, A World War II learning resource developed by Down County Museum. This multimedia resource reveals how this part of Northern Ireland played a unique role in saving the lives of some Jewish refugees.
Download Teaching Guides: Teaching guide from O'Brien Teaching Guides Collection 1
Also by Marilyn Taylor: