1. Ben didn’t tell his older brother about finding the message in the bottle because of his promise to Sid. Why do you think it’s important for us to keep our promises? Do you think there are times when it’s OK to break a promise?
2. The Vicar told the children that the war wasn’t about fighting (or hating) the Germans, but about fighting evil. What does that mean for us today? How do you feel when you hear about wars and terrorist attacks? What is the opposite of hate?
3. Do you know anyone who feels they may not be wanted because their parents hadn’t planned to have them, or because they are adopted, fostered, or live in a children’s home? From what Ben’s dad told him in Chapter 6, what could you say to encourage them?
4. Ben didn’t really want to include Vera in their adventure at first. In those days girls were often thought to be less important than boys – how do you feel about that? Do you exclude anyone from friendship or being part of your games because they are different from you in some way?
5. Albert taught Ben to catch rabbits, but also gave him some rules – only take what you need, kill in such a way that the animal doesn’t suffer, and leave what you don’t need for the wild animals. How do you think these rules might still relevant for us today?
6. Ben sometimes sang his dad’s favourite song, Count Your Blessings (Chapters 4 and 8). How do you think this song might help people not to grumble? What does it mean to have an “attitude of gratitude”?
7. Does stealing a few sweets or telling a lie really matter? Do you think it affect us, or our relationships with other people? How can we stop ourselves when we are tempted to do or say wrong things? Do you think small lies could lead to bigger ones?
8. Ben and his classmates were friendly to the wounded Australian soldiers because they were a long way from their homes. Can you think of ways in which you could be friendly towards people from other countries in your school or community, and make them feel more at home in a strange place?
9. The Zeppelin raid was frightening. We all have to face difficult and scary things sometimes. Ben remembered he could call on God to help him. Have you ever prayed when you were frightened? Do you think it might help?
10. Which part of the story did you like best? Do you think you have learnt anything to help you in your life?