February 8, 2010

Milkweed - by Jerry Spinelli

Picture a small boy with no name, no friends or family, and only the ability to steal things without getting caught.  He is a gypsy child, running and running, with nowhere to go and all alone.  Within pages, you realize that this boy is caught in the middle of Warsaw, Poland, as it is being invaded by the Nazis during World War 2 in 1940.  As the Nazis round up all the Jews in Warsaw and imprison them behind a large wall, our hero's story takes flight.  He begins to understand the world, making friends and finding a way to survive at a time when all around him are suffering horribly. 

This is a powerful story about a young boy who experiences firsthand the horror of the Holocaust.  It brings a fresh perspective on this very dark point in human history, but does so in a way that leaves the reader hopeful, as you realize that even in the darkest hour, there are those willing to fight back, and those able to keep hope alive.  Milkweed is an emotionally powerful story, and not one to read lightly.  For teens curious about the human side of the Holocaust, or simply wanting to read an unforgettable, moving story, this is the book for you.

1 comment:

Momo said...

I was very interested to see your comments about Milkweed. I found this book so disturbing. I agree it only for very very emotionally mature High School readers. I read all three holocaust novels in a row and this was by far the hardest... The boy in striped pyjamas, Once by Maurice Gleitzman and Milkweed.

When I talk about this topic with Year 6 I like to read Let the Celebrations begin by Margaret Wild - is this available in your school library - it is a very special picture book for older students. I also like The Children we Remember.