Would you break the rules or break your promise?

On the outskirts of Edinburgh, just before the outbreak of WW2, Charlie finds a starving German boy hiding in the woods near his home. Josef can’t speak English and is desperately afraid, especially of anyone in uniform. Charlie’s promise to help Josef find his Jewish relatives in the city is the start of a journey that will force them to face their fears, testing their new-found friendship to the limit.


“Poignant, graceful, and relevant for today”

— Alex Nye

“It's 1938 at Morison's Haven, a small harbour on the outskirts of Edinburgh. War is on the horizon, but for young Charlie it seems remote and unlikely; until the first ripple from the conflict breaks on the shore of the Firth of Forth in the arrival of Jozef, a starving German boy, lost and alone, whom Charlie finds hiding in the woods when his schoolfriend Jean ropes him into searching for a stray dog.

The terror that Jozef feels, marooned in a new and frightening place, is almost visceral, and made all the more immediate by being told without words. Charlie's empathy bridges the gap between the boys, and Jean provides a headstrong sense of adventure to keep them moving - even if she doesn't always get things quite right!

It's a timely reminder of the need for humanity in our approach to people who have lost their homes, their families, their countries, and come looking for sanctuary.

Charlie's Promise cleverly weaves a story about a single boy into the overall historical narrative, putting a tired and scared human face on the vast forces of history that are raging just over the horizon in the aftermath of Kristallnacht. Highly recommended.”

— John Fulton

“A beautiful and moving story in which a journey across Edinburgh in 1938 is for our young heroes as filled with dangers and strange encounters as a journey from the Shire to the Cracks of Doom”

— Robert J Harris

“Wonderful story, original idea and great characterisation of the children make this an excellent read”

“This book beautifully portrays a tale of the kindness of strangers as well as the innocence of childhood…The characters in this, especially the three main ones are so realistic and you cannot help but take them into your heart…this was a book I didn’t want to put down, the tale was so wonderfully crafted and expertly woven that I almost raced through it, relishing the small details as well as frantically trying to find out if the trio would make it to Edinburgh and just who Josef was trying to reach. This book acts as a great reminder about humanity as well as a wonderful resource to teach youngsters about the harrowing events of Kristallnacht”

“Charlie's Promise is a story of courage, friendship and adventure as the three young friends take on the challenge to get Josef to a place of safety”

— ByPortybelle