Winning Year: 1940 Author: Kitty Barne Title: Visitors from London
Dent Current Publisher: Format: ISBN: Out of print
It is 1939 and the Farrar family, including the four sensible, responsible but not priggish children, is spending the summer holidays as usual in Sussex looking after their wonderful Aunt Myra who drives an Austin Ten.
Suddenly they find themselves in the midst of the Second World War. The empty old farm house Steadings across the barley field has been offered as a temporary home for seventeen cockney evacuee children from London and the Farrar's help in getting the house ready, finding staff and generally organising everything. The evacuees arrive having never seen the sea, a farm or the countryside.
Kitty Barne was born and brought up in Sussex. Her illustrator, Ruth Gervais, described Kitty in Chosen for Children, written in 1977:
"To an illustrator, Kitty Barne was a most delightful author, not because she gave one a free hand, far from it, but because she knew exactly what she wanted and was so delighted when one caught her visual images. It was a true collaboration of author and artist. We would meet and then, her good ear towards me, her eyes shining, her face alive with interest, she would discuss her characters. I used to make dozens of quick sketches until I got them as she pictured them, helped by her interjections, `Oh, rather a higher forehead and even deeper set eyes` or 'oh, no you've made her far too nice, I think she is a horrid little girl.' We would laugh together over her amusing adults as she suggested incidents for me to sketch which would bring out their characteristics."