A stunning novel of the Holocaust from Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli
He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. 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, with tall, shiny jackboots of his own-until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind.
And 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.
Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable-Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II-and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young Holocaust orphan.
For this WWII tale set in Warsaw, Spinelli (Wringer) invents a narrator akin to Roberto Benigni's character in Life Is Beautiful. The narrator intermittently indicates that he has some distance from the events, but his perspective affords him no insight, so readers may be as confounded as he. As the novel opens, Uri, a larger boy, chases down the narrator and pries away the loaf of bread he has pinched: " 'I'm Uri... What's your name?'... 'Stopthief.' " After Uri realizes that the boy truly does not know his own name, Uri gives him one Misha Pilsudski as well as a past (befitting the boy's "Gypsy" appearance). Simple-minded Misha admires the Nazis, whom the boys call "Jackboots" ("They were magnificent. There were men attached to them, but it was as if the boots were wearing the men.... A thousand of them swinging up as one, falling like the footstep of a single, thousand-footed giant"). Misha comes off as a clown, and for children unfamiliar with the occupation and its horrors, the juxtaposition of events and Misha's detached relating of them may be baffling (Nazis force Jews to wash the street with their beards, and hang one of Misha's friends from a street lamp). At times, he seems self-aware ("I had no sense. If I had had sense, I would know what all the other children knew: the best defense... was invisibility"), yet these moments are aberrations; he never learns from his experience, and a postlude does little to bring either his perspective or the era into focus. Ages 10-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book made me cry😭
It’s an amazing book, and it has a very happy ending. But, if you are one of those people who don’t cry during movies or while reading a book, then I wouldn’t recommend this book. But I really liked it, and I’m a ten year old.
I originally read this book in middle school and even though I don't remember much from it, I remember I thought it was really good.
I know a bit about the Holocaust but, The main character was so unrealistic during World War 2. It’s not bad, but the character was horrible!!!