Monday, May 17, 2010

Once, Then, and Now by Morris Gleitzman

Release Date (Australia):
1 August 2005; 2 June 2008; 3 May 2010.
Rating: 9.5/10

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.

A couple of years ago, I read a book (at age 23) for children aged approximately 10+. It made me cry and laugh and was easily one of the best books I have ever read. Not one of the best kids' books; one of the best books. That book was Once, by Morris Gleitzman, the first in the trilogy of Once, Then, and Now.

Morris Gleitzman is an Australian author known for his funny, yet intelligently written, children's books. Once, Now, and Then all keep this humour in amongst the heartbreaking and beautiful story of Felix and his friend Zelda and their experiences in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. I won't give too much away about the events that occur in Once and Then, but I really came to love these characters more than almost any other characters I've ever encountered in fiction.

Having just recently finished reading Now, the third book in the series, it made me want to write about how beautiful these books are. Now is slightly different in that it is set in the present day and Felix is now a grandfather, but it is still a moving story of the strength of family and love in times of crisis.

At the end of each of these books, Morris Gleitzman encourages his readers to learn more about the events that occurred during the Holocaust and the voices of the survivors by providing a link on his website to other books on these matters.

I strongly recommend these stories to anyone, not just children, who is interested in reading a beautiful story and learning more about the history of the Holocaust.

I had a plan for me and Zelda.
Pretend to be someone else.
Find new parents.
Be safe forever.
Then the Nazis came.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great book. I remember thinking the same thing when we were reading it.