Now or Never: A Dunkirk Story

Publisher: Scholastic Children’s Books

Review

Narrated by Private Fazal Khan, a young Muslim soldier in Company 32 of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps, this is a moving and insightful account of a key event in the Second World War. Fifteen-year-old Fazal runs away from his family in northern India and lies about his age to join up and serve the British Empire, just as his grandfather did during World War I. His role is to look after the mules used to carry supplies to the front line, which he performs with diligence and pride.

Fazal’s romantic views of duty, loyalty and honour are challenged when he arrives in France during the freezing winter of 1939 and experiences the harsh realities of war. Despite the sacrifices made by members of Company 32, not everyone treats them as equals, which becomes shockingly apparent as they await evacuation at Dunkirk.

Voices is a thought-provoking series of stories based on true events, aiming to highlight the valuable and often overlooked contribution made by immigrants to Britain throughout history. Written by a range of highly regarded children’s authors, these tales bring different historical periods to life for a young audience.

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