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Dear Jelly: Family Letters from the First World War

ALCS Educational Writers' Award, 2016

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781445128795

Price: £7.99

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The moving story of two brothers who fought in the First World War through the real letters, complete with hand-drawn cartoons, they sent to their sisters. Like so many families across the world, the Semple family were split apart by the First World War. While William and Robert were fighting the Germans in France, their younger sisters, Mabel and Jelly (Eileen), had to carry on with school back in England. To keep in touch, they wrote letters. The sisters treasured these letters, which gave snapshots of their brothers’ lives as soldiers. Many of the letters included cartoon illustrations to amuse the sisters.

The book presents these letters with their illustrations. After each letter the author has written a short commentary, drawing out the facts about the war that can be taken from it. Altogether the book is a powerful and moving record of one family’s experience of the First World War and a moving read for readers aged nine and up.

A powerful, moving record of one family’s first-hand experience of the First World War. – Education Today


A powerful, moving record of one family's first-hand experience of the First World War.
Education Today
An engaging way to bring everyday realities of the First World War to life for a young audience.
English Association
Ridley's approach is helpful in showing us events at a personal level. She has been meticulous in her research, not only in tracking down the letters but also in contextualising them.
Books for Keeps
A good introduction to the Western Front... a welcome contrast to the 'mud and blood' content of many books on the war in France and Flanders.
School Librarian