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ONCE by Morris Gleitzman

ONCE

By Morris Gleitzman

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9026-0
Publisher: Henry Holt

When his Jewish parents place young Felix in an orphanage in war-torn Poland, they tell him that they must leave to fix their book business. Felix knows they will return. Curiously, one morning men in dark suits storm the orphanage and start burning books—these must be the people his parents have fled from. Others call these men Nazis; Felix doesn’t understand. Determined to be reunited with his family and to save more books from being burned, Felix runs away. But during his travels he sees even more horrors: People are beaten, starved and shot. All because of books? Felix’s misconceptions are heartbreaking, and readers will wince as he slowly and painfully gets closer to the truth. Packed with plenty of sadness, Felix’s story is also touched with hope. He meets a kind-hearted man, loosely based on the real-life Janusz Korczak. A resonant shot to the heart—Gleitzman delivers a sharp sense of what it must have been like to be a child during the Holocaust, forced to grow up far too quickly. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)