Once. by Morris Gleitzman


Written by Morris Gleitzman
Part of the Once/Now/Then/After Series

9+ readers   The World Wars   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

A moving and convincing child-eye view of what happened to the children of Poland after the Germans invaded. Felix has been placed by his parents in an orphanage for safe-keeping but, when the Germans come and burn the books in the orphanage library, Felix knows he must set out to return to his parents who are booksellers and make sure they are safe. Felix’s journey is dangerous and desperate but also full of courage and hope in a world where friendships and loyalty are the glue that hold things together.

Gleitzman's second novel in this series, Then, is out in January 2009.


Once. by Morris Gleitzman

For three years and eight months Felix has lived in a convent orphanage high in the mountains in Poland. But Felix is different from the other orphans. He is convinced his parents are still alive and will come back to get him. When a group of Nazi soldiers come and burn the nuns' books, Felix is terrified that his Jewish, bookseller parents will also be in danger. After escaping from the orphanage, Felix embarks on a long and dangerous journey through Nazi occupied Poland, befriending a little orphan girl called Zelda and a kindly dentist, Barney, who hides and cares for Jewish children. But when the Nazis discover them, Barney makes the ultimate sacrifice for the children.


Like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (rev. 9/06), this Holocaust parable plays its main character's naivete against readers

; like The Book Thief (rev. 3/06), the novel extols the power of storytelling in the face of tragedy, but Once pits Felix's stories against even deeper ugliness. ... Gleitzman manages to find a grain of hope in the unresolved (and likely dire) conclusion, but this is the rare Holocaust book for young readers that doesn't alleviate its dark themes with a comforting ending. -- The Horn Book, Starred Review This gripping novel will make readers want to find out more -- Booklist

About the Author

Morris Gleitzman

One of Australia's, and now the world's, best-known and loved children's authors, Morris Gleitzman tackles tough subjects in a funny and offbeat way . He has never set out to write "issues books" and says that his writing is as much for himself as for his readers.


Born: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, January 9th 1953
Jobs: Paperboy, Shelf-Stacker, Department Store Santa Claus, Frozen Chicken Defroster, Assistant to Fashion Designer, Rolling-Stock Unhooker in a Sugar Mill, TV Comedy Writer, Magazine Columnist
Lives: Victoria
First Book: The Other Facts of Life, 1985

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Book Info


Paperback (b Format)
192 pages
Interest Age: From 9 To 99


Morris Gleitzman
More books by Morris Gleitzman

Author's Website



Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

23rd February 2006




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