Our Enemy , My Friend, by Jenny Blackman

We had taken our shoes off to walk over the ford, when Rob, Johnny, Dave and Richard jumped out at us from the bushes on the far side of the ford. I screamed at them, but that didn’t help. They pushed Hannelore and Ruth into the creek and sang out, ‘Clean up the dirty Huns.’

Before the war Emma and Hannelore were best friends. But now Australia is at war against the Germans and Hannelore is German – or is she? Emma must balance what she sees around her, what she is told and what she feels is right.

Set in the village of Wirreebilla in the Adelaide Hills in 1915, this diary-format offering provides a child’s perspective on the society and events of the day. The district has a large population of German settlers, many of whom have been in Australia for several generations. Now, though, they are being treated as the enemy as other locals see them and their German traditions as a threat to their existence and as a daily reminder of the horrors of the war their boys are away fighting.

This offering is part of Scholastic’s My Story series, a series which focusses on the lives of children in various times and places in history. Emma’s diary is set in a significant era of Australian and world history, yet offers an insight into events about which primary aged children may be unaware. As well as the major plot exploring the issues of a nation at war, there are also explorations of family life and education during that time period.

Our Enemy, My Friend is a high interest, accessible offering for primary aged readers.

Our Enemy, My Friend, by Jenny Blackman
Scholastic, 2005