Milkweed

Spinelli, Jerry.  2003. Milkweed.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf.  ISBN 0-375-91374-2. $17.99. Library Binding Hardcover.

Awards/Honors

*ALA Best Book for Young Adults (2004)

*Golden Kite Award (2003)

*Carolyn W. Field Award (2004)

A young boy who does not know his name or past finds himself while trying to survive the Holocaust in Warsaw, Poland.

Imagine a life where you do not even know your real name. Now place yourself in the middle of Warsaw, Poland during the Nazi occupation. How would you survive? How would the experiences you face shape you as a person? Can you use the gift you have as a thief and your small size to the advantage of you and your friends to help survive? The young protagonist of the novel learns to survive in Warsaw, first on the streets, then in the Jewish Ghetto and finally surviving the purging of the ghetto and eventually making himself a new life in America.

The young boy is taken in by Uri and his gang of Jewish boys who live on the street. They steal and plunder to survive and have a great time of it at first. Once the Nazis come the little boy must use his small size and skills as a thief to help himself and the Jewish family who take him in to survive. Throughout the whole ordeal, the boy keeps his survival instinct on edge and must learn to grow up and figure out who or what defines him as a person. Will this young boy ever become free like Milkweed?

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