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Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli
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Milkweed

by Jerry Spinelli

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The young boy has no name but accepts what anyone wants to call him. He is small enough and fast enough to steal enough food to eat--until the war comes, Nazis invade Warsaw, and food becomes scarce. He is befriended by other street orphans, and makes friends with a young Jewish girl. When her family is herded to the ghetto, he goes with and uses his skills to bring them food.
Stark realism of an awful time. Even the ending, with his new life in America requires him working through his PTSD for years as a street person. ( )
  juniperSun | Apr 16, 2014 |
Although written as a child's book, the content is unusual for the author. Told from a boy's perspective, it covers the WW2 period, from the standpoint of an oft overlooked demographic from that time, the orphans of Warsaw. Misha was orphaned so young that he doesn't even know his real name, how old he is, or anything when we first meet him. he doesn't know if he's a Jew or a Gypsy, but he thinks because he has a yellow stone around his neck that his father gave him, that he's a Gypsy. His memory of a parent is sketchy at best. He steals to eat & survive. he meets up with Uri, a redheaded Jewish boy who knows he's Jewish, but can pass for German. He's the leader of a group of other orphan boys, & he's the one that gives Misha a name, & teaches him about surviving & friendship.

It's a very sad story, fraught with chilling mental images of the horrors of the time, but it's definitely not pretty ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
00003498
  cavlibrary | Feb 14, 2014 |
The book Milkweed is a tear jerking, heart-wrenching, story about a little orphan boy during the Holocaust in Warsaw, Germany. The boy has no memory of where he came from or h=who he is when he runs into a group of teen boys living on the street. He is taken under the wing by Ory, one of the boys who shows him how to survive and teaches him about the world around them. This book shows what was happening during the Holocaust from this little boys eyes and it really captures everything that us happening with such innocence. I would definitely recommend this book to all young adults. ( )
  Jordanlaine | Feb 3, 2014 |
A child's perspective of what it was like to grow up as an gypsy orphan during World War II. Creates a new understanding of minority and discrimination while enabling the reader to develop bonds with the characters and see Holocaust victims as real people and real children. A beautiful story of survival. ( )
  TammyeG | Jan 23, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Smuggling was carried out through holes and cracks in the walls...and through all the hidden places unfamiliar to the conqueror's foreign eyes.  --February 26, 1941 "Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan"
Dedication
Remembered: Bill Bryzgornia and Masha Bruskina
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I am running.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0439676959, Paperback)

Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli (Maniac McGee, Stargirl) paints a vivid picture of the streets of the Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II, as seen through the eyes of a curious, kind, heartbreakingly naïve orphan with many names. His name is Stopthief when people shout "Stop! Thief!" as he flees with stolen bread. Or it's Jew, "filthy son of Abraham," depending on who's talking to him. Or, maybe he's a Gypsy, because his eyes are black, his skin is dark, and he wears a mysterious yellow stone around his neck. His new friend and protector Uri forces him to take the name Misha Pilsudski and to memorize a made-up story about his Gypsy background so that no one will mistake him for a Jew and kill him. Misha, a very young boy, is slow to understand what's happening around him. When he sees people running, he thinks it's a race. Nazis (Jackboots, as the children call them) marching through the streets appear to him as a delightful parade of magnificent boots. He wants to be a Jackboot! (Uri smacks him for saying this.) He compares bombs to sauerkraut kettles, machine guns to praying mantises, and tanks to "colossal gray long-snouted beetles." The story of Misha and his band of orphans trying to survive on their own would have a deliciously Dickensian quality, if it weren't for the devastation around them--people hurrying to dig trenches to stop Nazi tanks, shops exploding in flames, the wailing of sirens, buzzing airplanes, bombs, and human torture. Spinelli has written a powerfully moving story of survival--readers will love Misha the dreamer and his wonderfully poetic observations of the world around him, his instinct to befriend a Jewish girl and her family, his impulse to steal food for a local orphanage and his friends in the ghetto, and his ability to delight in small things even surrounded by the horror of the Holocaust. A remarkable achievement. (Ages 11 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham -- He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He's a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He's a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels He's a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. When the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he's a boy who realizes it's safest of all to be nobody.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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