If you’ve been following the blog, or my social media, for a while, you’ll probably know all about the intense love that I have for the Once series by Morris Gleitzman. These are books that I’ll recommend to anyone without a moment’s hesitation and will take any opportunity to talk about them (so here’s me making another one!).
Here’s why I feel that everyone should give this series a go!
Blurb: Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once. 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.
It’s beautifully written…
This book follows the point of view of young Felix, a Polish Jew left at an orphanage by his parents, as he faces the realities of Nazi-occupied Poland. Gleitzman writes in such a way that we see his childlike innocence fade away as more and more of the puzzle pieces of this new world fit into place, creating a very different picture to the one he is used to. This writing style really hits you where it hurts and brings home just how emotional the situation would have been.
You’ll fall in love with Felix…
Picture this – a young boy, alone in a hostile world that wants him dead and yet he still strives to see the best in those around him and offers help where he can. A character who is just beginning to understand the world when everything he knows is turned on its head. Faced with atrocity after atrocity, Felix is testament to the fact that we can get through anything if only we look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
Even in the later books as we see Felix as an older man, a grandfather and retired doctor, his experiences never truly leave him and your heart will ache for the old man with achy legs and a fear of flames.
It’s well researched…
At the back of the book, Gleitzman gives us an insight into the research he conducted before setting out to write this book and even suggests further reading should you be interested in educating yourself further. This is something I love to see, especially in books that concern a sensitive topic and think it’s brilliant for any readers!
It’ll give you some perspective…
Most of us are lucky enough to live in a world where we don’t experience the same persecution that people faced under the Nazis, it can seem worlds away from our own lives and yet educating yourself on this period of history can give you some perspective as to what it’s like to be singled out and abused just for existing. In our current climate, this is a lesson that I think we can all learn something from and start to apply that empathy to those around us.
It’s based on an important period of history…
World War II may seem on the surface to be just another example of history that you barely paid attention to at school but there’s so much that we can learn from it. From politics to warfare to emotional intelligence, this is a period of history that we must not brush aside, especially when we are losing the voices of those who experienced it first hand.
Paraphrasing George Santayana, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
So, what do you think? Have I convinced you to pick up this series? or maybe you’ve already read them? I’d love to know!
You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss these books (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌
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