Kid’s Book Review: The Battle of Cable Street

Kid’s Book Review: The Battle of Cable Street

About the Book and Author

According the the mother of our young reviewer, Ali told her that this was the best history book he has read in ages! He loved it!

Political tensions are heightening on the streets of Stepney, and as Oswald Mosley comes to power, Elsie begins to see friendships torn apart … Award-winning author Tanya Landman explores the rise of antisemitic fascism in 1930s London in this gripping new story that is published by Barrington Stoke using a dyslexia-friendly typeface and coloured pages.

The Battle of Cable Street cover
Tanya Landman author photo

Tanya studied for a degree in English Literature at Liverpool University before working in a bookshop, an arts centre and a zoo. Since 1992 Tanya has been part of Storybox Theatre working as a writer, administrator and performer – a job which has taken her to festivals all over the world.

Buffalo Soldier won the 2015 Carnegie Medal and to date she has written over 40 books for children and young adults. You can find out more by visiting her website.

Book Review

This book reminds you that the winners get to write history and that there is often more to events than what you might originally be told

The Battle of Cable Street was a spectacular insight into a topic that has been ignored when I was taught about what lead to the Second World War. Before, I’ve often been given the impression that Britain was the saviour, the pure, but it definitely was not.

The Battle of Cable Street takes place in the slums of London where we meet the narrator, Elsie. We learn that she lives with her brother, Mickey, and her grandmother. From an early age, Elsie would head out with her friends and play fantasy games. But that all changes as fascism takes London by storm, and the children get older. Pulled apart initially by the responsibilities that come with age, the divisions between the friends become impossible to ignore as they become increasingly involved in the politics of the day.

As Elsie and her friends find themselves on different sides of the fascist movement, the novel moves to an amazing finale when the protestors meet and the Battle of Cable Street really begins.

To appreciate this novel fully might require a bit of historical knowledge to understand what is happening, so I would recommend this book to older children who are learning about World War 2, as it shows them how, despite what you might have been taught, nothing is perfect. This book reminds you that the winners get to write history and that there is often more to events than what you might originally be told.

I really enjoyed this book: I was fascinated by this period in history, which I didn’t know about before, and I enjoyed finding out about it.

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Alastair
  • Age: 12 years
  • Likes: science and space, Lego and sports
  • Dislikes: mushrooms and blue cheese
  • Favourite Book: Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
  • Favourite Song: Hello by Adele
  • Favourite Film: Star Wars