Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy

Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy

By Author / Illustrator

Sufiya Ahmed


Historical Fiction

Age range(s)



Bloomsbury Publishing PLC




Paperback / softback




A thrilling and empowering WWII adventure about the French resistance and their British allies, with a determined, Muslim heroine. Perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Carroll, and those looking for diverse historical fiction.July, 1941. Rosina Raja is half-Indian and half-English. She has always lived in India, so when her mother passes away and she moves to England (where it rains all the time) she is miserable and doesn't have any friends. Life changes dramatically for Rosie when she discovers that her army captain father is actually a spy for the British government. She can't bear to be left behind so she stows away in his plane. Finding herself in occupied France, Rosie is soon drawn into the struggle against the Nazis. With new allies and new enemies at every turn, she must help her father complete his mission, and more importantly... make sure they both get home alive.

Find out more in this Q&A with author Sufiya Ahmed



Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy is a brilliant WWII adventure story. It conveys an excellent representation of female roles during wartime and the harsh realities of a world war in occupied France.

Having recently been brought to England by her father from India, the Indian princess finds life in the English countryside hard. She misses her Indian lifestyle; she misses the palace and all of her friends. However, her father made the decision to bring Rosie to England because he felt that India was not safe for her with her aunt now supporting the rebel fighters. He felt that the Rani-K (The Queen) would soon be captured and imprisoned and this posed a considerable risk to Rosie's safety in her home country.

When we learn more about Rosie's life, it is clear that she feels angry towards her father for leaving her mother to die alone in India. However, when Rosie finds out that her father is a British spy and that past events were out of his control; she becomes more forgiving towards him. So, when her father is sent on his next mission to help the Marquis in Paris, Rosie is determined to go with him and help. The harsh reality of war in occupied France does not discourage her and she is adamant to do the right thing even when the decisions are hard to make and even life threatening.

This book does not shy away from the brutality of war and it is written with the reality of historical events at its core. Children in Key Stage 2 would gain an insightful look into events during WWII from this book and it would also give them a different perspective because the protagonist is female and raises questions about female roles during the war years, which would be a good discussion point. I also like how this book reaches out to the Empire and as a reader, we get to learn about the Indian independence movement from a child's perspective. Children will learn a great deal from this book, or it will at least ignite their curiosity.

224 pages / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


If you're looking for a thrilling read, packed with historical information and a diverse range of characters, then look no further than Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy. This offering from Sufiya Ahmed is fast paced, unpredictable and filled with genuine peril.

Set during the Second World War, it provides a positive representation of women and highlights the often overlooked role of people of different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds during the conflict. The protagonist, Rosina Raja, is a feisty half English, half Indian princess. Fed up with being left alone by her often absent father, she decides to take matters into her own hands and stows away in his plane to occupied France. Here she finds herself surrounded by secrets, lies and spies.

This book raises some brilliant discussion points regarding the role of women in war, the Indian independence movement, the actions of those in British empire, and the WWII conflict itself. It would be perfect to read alongside a study of WWII for pupils in Year 5 and above.

224 pages / Reviewed by Linda Canning, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Half-Indian, half-English, Rosina has had to move to England where she is miserable. Her father took her from India when her mother died and she misses the palace she lived in and her aunt, Rani-K, the queen of their kingdom. Things take a dramatic turn when Rosie learns that her father is a spy for the British government and she stows away on a plane to be with him. Finding herself in Nazi occupied France, Rosie needs to be on her guard if she is to help her father with his mission - and survive.

Courageous and loyal, Rosie is an excellent heroine. Left reeling by her mother's death and angry and confused by her father's apparent lack of grief and concern for her wishes, Rosie is determined to find out what he is doing, launching herself into the heart of danger. Smart and capable, she is keen to learn the 'skills' of spying and quick to take action when needed.

Rosie Raja Churchill's Spy does not shy away from some of the harsh realities of life in occupied France, exploring the role of the resistance and the risks they faced in opposing the Nazis. There is tragedy within the unit Rosie's father is leading and tough decisions have to be made, considering 'the greater good'. Rosie's mixed heritage of her Indian mother and English father also introduces the role of the British Raj in India, the struggle for independence and Gandhi's non-violent teachings, sure to encourage readers to further investigate this part of history.

I wonder whether the final version of the book might include some suggested reading material as there is so much to learn from (as well as enjoy in) this story. I believe this is the first in a series of adventures for Rosie and I look forward to seeing what she gets up to next!  Recommended for ages 10+.

224 Pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher 

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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