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How old are you? What school do you go to? What is your favourite book?

I am 13 years old. I go to Britton’s Academy in Essex, England. My favourite book is Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.

Why do you like this book?

I think it’s because of the history of World War One and how it is written by Michael Morpurgo. He did a good job in writing the book.  I like history and so I like this writer’s clever use of history in his story. I like Thomas Peaceful looking back at his life as he explains his life in the trenches of WW1. It is well told, in past tense until it was caught up by the present which is very interesting.

There are lots of grown up themes in the book — war, dying, getting married, and babies. Did these seem too grown up for you? Were you scared, uninterested, or shocked? Why do you think the book is appropriate for a young audience?

First of all, although it says it’s a children’s book, I would actually put it between the ages of 11 and 14. I wasn’t shocked or uninterested. I felt trusted, if you know what I mean, by the content of the book. Like I said before, it’s not for a young audience but yes, it was quite appropriate for the target audience. It was written in such a manner, the parts of adult themes were slowly introduced and they were not given that much of detail, as less detail as Morpurgo can go — his work is always detailed. I, personally, would have liked more detail in those parts. It would have made it even more interesting.

The book has lots of sadness and a sad ending. Do you think this worked for you? Why? Can there be sad endings in kids’ books?

Yes, you can say that it has worked for me. I wouldn’t mind any sad parts or sad endings in the end. It does finish with a cliff hanger. It would be nice to find out what happened in the end.

I heard there was a sequel for it or something. There is no rule in the world that there can’t be sad endings in children’s books. So, yes, there can be sad endings in children’s books!


So there is a love triangle in the book. I know that girls like to read about romance in their books. What did you make of the romantic element here? Did it make you go bleh? Or what?

Well, I actually just went on with it. It made the story just as interesting. I didn’t mind it either.

Tell us what essential elements Private Peaceful has that makes it appealing to a young boy reader like you.

Well, essential elements that I need are that there needs to be history, an adventure, it needs to be interesting, and a few more but these are just the usual stuff everybody needs in a story.

And your other favourite books are?

I have a few others by Michael Morpurgo, Alone in The Wild Wild Sea and Kensuky’s Kingdom. A few others like the Diary of the Wimpy Kid books.