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Although the silver sword was only a paper knife, it became the symbol of hope and courage which kept the Balicki children and their orphan friend Jan alive through the four years of occupation when they had to fend for themselves.
Ian Serraillier (1912-1994), was a British novelist and poet. Born in London, he was educated at Brighton College, and took his degree at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was best known for his children's books, especially The Silver Sword published in 1956. As well as children's novels and poetry, Serrailler produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and the Greek myths. Together with his wife Anne he founded the New Windmill Series in 1948, published by Heinemann Educational Books, which set out to provide inexpensive editions of good stories.