by Jerry Spinelli
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. 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 of World War II—and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan.
Mrs Salter’s Review
I was hooked from the start of this story, wondering how a boy with no name and no birthday is managing on his own in Poland as the Germans take control. He joins a gang of vagrant kids who live rough and later ends up in a settlement and stealing what ever he can in the night.
There is heaps of action and adventure in this story and some very good people to balance out the bad world these orphans are trying to survive in. The boy who narrates this story has very little concept of the war that rages around him which softens this tragic novel significantly.
I think this is a must read for Year 10 students and leads to much deeper thought and potential for discussion.