Once there was a beautiful fine autumn day and I decided to take a chair and read outside in the sunshine at morning break time and read the book Once by Morris Gleitzman.
I was interrupted a few times, I did up a five year old girl's shoes, she asked about my book, I sorted out some trouble on the playground (even though I wasn't the duty teacher - all from my chair of course) and answered the questions about what I was reading to our TA and encouraged her to read the book too.
Once by Morris Gleitzman is a fabulous book. It is set in 1942 in Poland when the Nazis were exterminating the Jews. I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, I've read aloud to my class years ago I Am David, and I have The Book Thief sitting on my table at home for over a year waiting to be read - and because I think it is set at the same time as Once I have been avoiding it!
Inside the front cover it says:
Once I escaped from an orphanage
to find Mum and Dad.
Once I saved a girl called Zelda
from a burning house.
Once I made a Nazi with a toothache laugh.
My name is Felix.
This is my story.
Morris Gleitzman has written an amazing story. Felix is an innocent child caught up in the evils of that time and deeply affected by them. He is courageous, responsible, innocent, imaginative an ever hopeful story teller. Zelda is a sweetheart and I love her constant refrain; "Don't you know anything?" that she says often to Felix. Their care for each other is heart warming. What a hero and heroine.
For a long time Felix doesn't realise what is actually happening until one telling sentence: "I'm glad the other kids are excited because they haven't seen what I can see now that I've wiped my glasses."
This story is a deeply heart wrenching story, yet there is humour in Gleitzman's writing as he tells the story. I am close to finishing it, but not quite. When I do finish it I will move on to the second in this series, Then.
Do read it.