Updated: Nov 9, 2020
"This the story of my imagination trying to grasp the unimaginable." - Morris Gleitzman
The above quote is from the author, but also describes the reader experience also.
Once, is the story of a little boy who doesn't understand why the Nazi's are in Poland or why they don't seem to like him. It is a story of discovering the truth and trying to make sense of it. It is a story of survival and compassion and horrific history that, told through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy is even more monstrous. Yet, Once is also a story for children.
Being a children's story did not lead Gleitzman to gloss over the awful realities of the Second World War and the holocaust. In fact, I found myself very emotional and thinking about scenes in this book long after I'd read them.
Once is recommended for children over 10 years. Full of adventure, almost every chapter leaves the reader on a cliffhanger that makes it impossible to put down. I read this one in a day, but this is the first of a series so I’m making my way through the other books as well.
This is one of those important books for both children and adults to read. It's easy enough to learn the facts of history, but this book places you there. This isn't learning history, it's experiencing it.
On the surface, it may seem too disturbing for children, yet they are far more resilient than we often think so I'd highly recommend Once. However, if you don't read it together then I'd recommend reading it too so that you’re able to talk to your child about the story as or after they’ve read it.
Have you or your child read Once? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Subscribe to leave your thoughts below.
Order Once here