Carrie’s War is a classic novel filled with timeless scenes of courage, moral dilemmas, and unexpected joy – all of which can benefit your students immensely.
As teachers, you have the valuable opportunity to nurture your pupils’ educational growth through novels like this that offer invaluable insight into life lessons.
However, planning a practical lesson around any book takes creative classroom management skills. So why not start with a one-of-a-kind story such as Carrie’s War?
Through this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of how you can shape incredible learning experiences for your students by planning when using Carrie’s War in the classroom!
Related: For more, check out our planning overview that focuses on As You Like It by William Shakespeare here.
The Storyline of Carrie’s War
Carrie and her younger brother Nick are evacuated from London during World War II to a small Welsh town called ‘Dinas Pass’. Once at the cottage, they meet their caretaker – a grumpy older woman named Mrs Gotobed (Auntie Lou).
Despite the cold welcome, they befriend two local children, Albert and Daisy, who tell them stories of a mysterious hidden garden in town, which they must take care of.
Carrie and Nick later learn something sinister happened when their Auntie Lou converses with strange visitors at night. They eventually discover that these people are part of an illegal operation involving a disused mine near their home.
With help from Albert and Daisy, Carrie and Nick work together to stop this unlawful activity by finding evidence and testifying to the local authorities.
The adventures continue as they discover more secrets while restoring the hidden garden to its former glory before returning home safe and sound after World War II ends. Carrie’s journey teaches us about friendship, loyalty, courage, resilience and the power of standing up for what is right.
Critical Themes in Carrie’s War
Carrie and Nick form strong friendships with local children Albert and Daisy. The four of them work together and combine their courage to put a stop to the illegal activities going on near their home.
The story highlights the importance of loyalty – between friends, such as Carrie and her brother, Nick’s dedication to his sister and Albert and Daisy’s friendship with each other – and loyalty within the family, such as Auntie Lou’s unwavering commitment to Carrie and Nick.
This novel’s characters face difficult situations but display incredible courage in adversity. Even when faced with fear or danger, they find the strength to persevere and fight for what is right.
Throughout the story, Carrie learns to be resilient despite the constant changes and hardships she must endure. Eventually, she discovers an inner strength which allows her to adapt to new surroundings and keep going no matter what life throws at her.
Standing Up for What is Right
The novel centres around themes of justice and morality, encouraging its young readers to stand up for what is right even in a time of hardship. In the end, courage wins out over corruption as Carrie teams up with her friends to do what must be done to achieve justice.
Characters in Carrie’s War
Carrie is the protagonist of the story. She is a courageous, loyal, resilient young girl who faces many challenges.
Nick is Carrie’s younger brother. He is supportive of his sister and has a strong sense of loyalty towards her. Despite their differences, the two forms a close bond as they face the hardships of war together.
Auntie Lou (also known as Mrs Gotobed) is a grumpy older woman whom Carrie and Nick stay with during their time in Wales. Despite hesitance, she becomes very protective, displaying an unwavering commitment to them.
Albert & Daisy
Albert and Daisy are local children whom Carrie and Nick befriend while in Dinas Pass. They join forces to help stop illegal activities near their home by finding evidence and testifying before the local authorities.
Teaching Opportunities from Carrie’s War
- Explore the concept of friendship and loyalty between siblings, friends, and family members.
- Discuss courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
- Consider themes of justice and morality and how standing up for what is right can make a difference.
- Examine how changes to life circumstances can be both challenging and rewarding.
- Analyse how different characters can contribute differently to a story, even if they seem worlds apart at first glance.
Lesson Plan 1
Students will understand the concept of loyalty and friendship between siblings, friends, and family members through a reading of Carrie’s War.
Introduce the book to students by giving a brief overview of its plot. Explain that it is set in World War II and follows the story of two young siblings who are evacuated to the Welsh countryside and face many challenges while away from home.
Ask students to consider what types of bonds they may form in such circumstances.
Main Teaching Points
Discuss with students how Carrie and Nick’s strong bond helps them through their struggles and why it is essential for both characters.
Encourage conversation around other relationships in the book, such as Auntie Lou’s protective care for Carrie and Nick or Daisy and Albert’s commitment to helping each other.
Identify themes like courage, justice, and resilience as critical contributors to successful relationships in challenging times. Use examples from the text to illustrate these points.
Allow students to reflect on their relationship with siblings or friends using questions like: “What actions could be taken today to strengthen your relationships?” or “How can we be sure that our decisions honour the people closest to us?”
Lesson Plan 2
Students will deepen their understanding of courage and resilience by reading Carrie’s War.
Review with students some aspects of World War II that would have been especially difficult such as evacuations, rationing, air raids etc. Ask students what qualities would be necessary when facing these kinds of difficulties.
Main Teaching Points
Discuss how different characters in the novel found strength in themselves even when faced with extreme adversity-such as Carrie standing up against Mr Evans or Daisy taking charge during Albert’s injury.
Draw attention to nuances such as how Auntie Lou put aside her hesitance towards Carrie and Nick despite being initially grumpy, revealing her determination to protect them no matter the costs involved.
Showcase how perseverance is often rewarded even if it does not bring about an immediate solution – such as finding out the truth about Mr Evans’ activities, eventually leading return home for Carrie & Nick even though it seemed impossible beforehand.
Allow time for student reflections on moments in their lives where they felt both courage & resilience – such as a challenging exam or sports tournament – could be helpful prompts here depending on student age & ability level.
- TPET – TPET is a website that provides teachers and parents with resources, lesson plans, and activities related to the classic novel Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden. It contains downloadable resources like worksheets, quizzes, and individual chapters of the book for analysis.
- TES Teaching Resource – This TES teaching resource offers an in-depth look into how to teach the novel Carrie’s War at the Key Stage 2 level. Teachers are offered activities such as drama lessons, creative writing tasks, comprehension questions, and an extensive book guide to provide insight into the text’s characters, plots and themes.
- Woodend Park Academy – This Woodend Park Academy site is focused on delivering chapter-by-chapter questions for students when reading the novel Carrie’s War, along with suggested answers for each one to check their understanding of the text as they read it along with any relevant points that may have been missed in their reading of each chapter.
- BBC Teach School Radio – BBC Teach School Radio’s page for the classic book Carrie’s War provides audio clips from both a narrator and actors playing out scenes from the story talking about events from World War II that were referenced in it so that students can gain context while listening as they follow along with narration of scenes from the book suitable for both KS1 & KS2 level students depending on the desired length of clip required
What is the book Carrie’s War about?
Carrie’s War is a classic novel by Nina Bawden. It follows two young British siblings evacuating to the Welsh countryside during World War II and their adventures and relationships throughout their stay.
What age level is this book suitable for?
Carrie’s war can be read and enjoyed by children of many ages – both adults and young. The themes explored in writing suit older readers looking to explore concepts such as resilience and loyalty. However, younger readers may still enjoy this story due to its heart-warming moments, creating a simple adventure story.
Where can I find resources related to teaching this book?
Numerous resources are available online for those wanting to use Carrie’s War for teaching material. Sites such as BBC Teach School Radio, TES Teaching Resource, TPET and Woodend Park Academy host worksheets, quizzes, chapter summaries, questions & answers and activities specifically designed for classroom use when exploring this book with students.