Please Write Soon
Solly, a schoolboy in England, has been asked by his strict teacher Miss Drury to do a project about World War II, and so brings in letters that he wrote to his Polish cousin Bernie during the war – and Bernie’s replies to him. As the class listens, Solly tells the story of Bernie’s experiences in the war, from being taken to a prisoner of war camp to being enlisted in the Russian army and fighting at the famous Battle of Montecassino.
As well as exchanging their experiences of the war, Solly and Bernie talk about their beloved Arsenal football team, and Solly tells Bernie what’s happening at home in London. Finally, the letters from Bernie stop… what will the ending of the story be? Will Bernie ever make it safely to England?
Michael Rosen was inspired by his father’s cousin Michael Rechnic’s real life story of being a soldier in World War II in writing this moving story. Both heartbreaking and fascinating, Bernie and Solly’s letters highlight the human impact of war, both on the soldiers and on the families at home, waiting for news that their loved ones are alive and will come home. Michael Foreman’s pencil illustrations, highlighted only in red are, of course, reminiscent of the remembrance poppy, and are deeply moving.
An important book authored by two legends of British children’s literature, Please Write Soon should be required reading for everyone, highlighting once again why we should never forget what happened in both world wars. As well as an important subject, though, it’s Rosen and Foreman’s ability to tell a relatable and vivid story that ensures we’re invested in Solly and Bernie’s story from the first page to the last.