The book Once by Morris Gleitzman came to me by way of my son. He was given a copy for his 11th birthday and he said I could read it first because it was on my must –read list. The book is set in Nazi occupied Poland in 1942 and we follow the story of a young boy named Felix. We meet Felix at a catholic orphanage, which he had been living at for the past 3years and 8months. He and his parents are Jewish so they sent him there to keep him safe, although Felix believes he is there while his parents sort through a difficult time with their bookshop.
After witnessing Nazis’ burning books at the orphanage, Felix decides to leave the orphanage and find his parents to help them save their books. We journey with Felix as his childhood innocence slowly dissolves and his eyes are opened to the atrocity of the holocaust around him. This book grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. It squeezes and tugs at every page. It is relentless and exhaustive. I truly loved this book, but as my son is a sensitive 11year old he may need to wait a little longer to read such painful truths. There are three more books in the series After, Now and Then.
Once by Morris Gleitzmann
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 toothache laugh.
My name is Felix.
This is my story.
Everybody deserves to have something good in their life.
At least once.