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Helen Dunmore
The Siege
With the Great Reading Adventure, we want to encourage people to talk about what they have read with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. On these pages we will post a selection of comments received by readers about what they think of The Siege,
The Soviet Union at War
Bristol at War
and the books being read by children as part of the education programme. We also want to encourage people who lived through the events in Bristol during the war to share their memories of what it was like on the front line.
Reader Contributions
Comments on the Selected Books
Memories of Bristol at War
Events and Competitions
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Lost in the Tsunami

A story from Embleton Primary School, Y4
inspired by the classroom activities found on the Education page.

Sarah shivered. She was high up in a coconut tree. There was a knot inside her belly. As the thunder growled in the distance water dripped onto Sarah’s face.

‘Mum, dad! Mum, dad, where are you?’

The last thing Sarah remembered was being on the bright sunny beach with her family. Then a big wall of water smacked down like a house falling.

Now she looked around to see where she was and almost nothing was standing. What had happened to her house? Where were her parents? Sarah wondered what had happened to them. She wanted to know if they were dead or alive. She knew she had to locate them.

‘I need to know where they are’, she said in a whispering voice.

Sarah decided to try and climb down from the tree. It was a high coconut tree and the branches were slippery. She moved her leg.


She saw it was bleeding. Sarah held onto the branch. Her hand slipped. She fell. Slowly Sarah got up and noticed that her clothes were torn. She shouted for her mum and dad again but there was still no reply.

Sarah stood at the bottom of the tree, she could smell coconuts. As she started walking she could taste the salty sea in the air. Her bare feet touched the smooth sand. She heard a noise from the other side of the beach. It sounded like her mum and dad but there was no-one there.

Slowly, Sarah walked in the direction of her house and worried about what she would find. Ahead she could see what was left of her white house. She tiptoed nearer and slowly opened the sodden door. It smelt putrid. Wallpaper hung from the walls. Her chair was floating in the water, her bed had tipped over and all her toys were missing. She turned round and saw a shadow on the wall. For a moment she thought it was her parents but when she went to have a look it was just a heap of bricks.

‘I hate Tsunamis!’ cried Sarah. She clenched her fists together because the water had destroyed her home and taken her family. She felt so angry she kicked the door of her old bedroom and ran out of the house.

As Sarah dashed outside she bashed into Mr Longwell-Green who was Sarah’s next door neighbour. They talked about Sarah’s parents and then Mr Longwell-Green started to tell Sarah about his daughter. When the wave came he had tried to hold onto her hand but their hands were so wet that it slowly slipped away. She screamed and was washed away by the strong current and he never saw her face again.

Mr Longwell-Green decided to try and find Sarah’s parents with her. He suggested that they should go to the hospital to see if they were there. Sarah walked sluggishly down the road to the hospital. When she got there she could smell infected open wounds and heard people shouting and screaming in pain. She noticed that there were little drops of sick and blood all over the place.

Sarah ran down all the corridors searching for her parents. She was huffing and puffing by the time she got to the last corridor. She looked at every bed but still couldn’t find them. She prayed that they were there somewhere.


She turned suddenly and couldn’t believe that her mum and dad were in front of her. She ran over to them and gave them both a huge hug. As she held onto them the Sun came out of the clouds. She was so happy that she had found her family. Sarah looked up and saw Mr Longwell-Green. He was pleased that Sarah was with her parents but felt sad that he would never see his little girl again. Outside, a family of monkeys was staring up at the calm blue sky. He wondered if his daughter was peaceful now.

Written by Year 4, Embleton Primary School and inspired by Tara’s Tree House Writing Workshop with Claire Williamson – 25/1/05