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A stunning novel of the Holocaust from Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli. And don't miss the author's highly anticipated new novel, Dead Wednesday!He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy...
A stunning novel of the Holocaust from Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli. And don't miss the author's highly anticipated new novel, Dead Wednesday!He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy...
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Description-

  • A stunning novel of the Holocaust from Newbery Medalist, Jerry Spinelli. And don't miss the author's highly anticipated new novel, Dead Wednesday!
    He's a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Filthy son of Abraham.
    He's a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He's a boy who steals food for himself, and the other orphans. He's a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels.
    He's a boy who wants to be a Nazi, with tall, shiny jackboots of his own-until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind.
    And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he's a boy who realizes it's safest of all to be nobody.
    Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable-Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II-and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young Holocaust orphan.
 

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Excerpts-

  • Chapter One 1

    MEMORY

    I am running.

    That’s the first thing I remember. Running. I carry something, my arm curled around it, hugging it to my chest. Bread, of course. Someone is chasing me. “Stop! Thief!” I run. People. Shoulders. Shoes. “Stop! Thief!”

    Sometimes it is a dream. Sometimes it is a memory in the middle of the day as I stir iced tea or wait for soup to heat. I never see who is chasing and calling me. I never stop long enough to eat the bread. When I awaken from dream or memory, my legs are tingling.


    2

    SUMMER

    He was dragging me, running. He was much bigger. My feet skimmed over the ground. Sirens were screaming. His hair was red. We flew through streets and alleyways. There we thumping noises, like distant thunder. The people we bounced off didn’t seem to notice us. The sirens were screaming like babies. At last we plunged into a dark hole.

    “You’re lucky,” he said. “Soon it won’t be ladies chasing you. It will be Jackboots.”

    “Jackboots?” I said.

    “You’ll see.”

    I wondered who the Jackboots were. Were unfooted boots running along the streets?

    “Okay,” he said, “hand it over.”

    “Hand what over?” I said.

    He reached into my shirt and pulled out the loaf of bread. He broke it in half. He shoved one half at me and began to eat the other.

    “You’re lucky I didn’t kill you,” he said. “That lady you took this from, I was just getting ready to snatch it for myself.”

    “I’m lucky,” I said.

    He burped. “You’re quick. You took it before I even knew what happened. That lady was rich. Did you see the way she was dressed? She’ll just buy ten more.”

    I ate my bread.

    More thumping sounds in the distance. “What is that?” I asked him.

    “Jackboot artillery,” he said.

    “What’s artillery?”

    “Big guns. Boom boom. They’re shelling the city.” He stared at me. “Who are you?”

    I didn’t understand the question.


    “I’m Uri,” he said. “What’s your name.

    I gave him my name. “Stopthief.”


    3


    He took me to meet the others. We were in a stable. The horses were there. Usually they would be out on the streets, but they were home now because the Jackboots were boom-booming the city and it was too dangerous for horses. We sat in a stall near the legs of a sad-faced gray. The horse pooped. Two of the kids got up and went to the next stall, another horse. A moment later came the sound of water splashing on straw. The two came back. One of them said, “I’ll take the poop.”

    “Where did you find him?” said a boy smoking a cigarette.

    “Down by the river,” said Uri. “He snatched a loaf from a rich lady coming out of the Bread Box.”

    Another boy said, “Why didn’t you snatch it from him?” This one was smoking a cigar as long as his face.

    Uri looked at me. “I don’t know.”

    “He’s a runt,” someone said. “Look at him.”

    “Stand up,” said someone else.

    I looked at Uri. Uri flicked his finger. I stood.

    “Go there,” someone said. I felt a foot on my back, pushing me toward the horse.

    “See,” said the cigar smoker, “he doesn’t even come halfway up to the horse’s dumper.”

    A voice...

About the Author-

  • JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many novels for young readers, including Dead WednesdayThe Warden's Daughter; StargirlLove, StargirlMilkweedCrashWringer; and Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; along with Knots in My Yo-Yo String, the autobiography of his childhood. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 1, 2003
    For this WWII tale set in Warsaw, Spinelli (Wringer) invents a narrator akin to Roberto Benigni's character in Life Is Beautiful. The narrator intermittently indicates that he has some distance from the events, but his perspective affords him no insight, so readers may be as confounded as he. As the novel opens, Uri, a larger boy, chases down the narrator and pries away the loaf of bread he has pinched: " 'I'm Uri... What's your name?'... 'Stopthief.' " After Uri realizes that the boy truly does not know his own name, Uri gives him one—Misha Pilsudski—as well as a past (befitting the boy's "Gypsy" appearance). Simple-minded Misha admires the Nazis, whom the boys call "Jackboots" ("They were magnificent. There were men attached to them, but it was as if the boots were wearing the men.... A thousand of them swinging up as one, falling like the footstep of a single, thousand-footed giant"). Misha comes off as a clown, and for children unfamiliar with the occupation and its horrors, the juxtaposition of events and Misha's detached relating of them may be baffling (Nazis force Jews to wash the street with their beards, and hang one of Misha's friends from a street lamp). At times, he seems self-aware ("I had no sense. If I had had sense, I would know what all the other children knew: the best defense... was invisibility"), yet these moments are aberrations; he never learns from his experience, and a postlude does little to bring either his perspective or the era into focus. Ages 10-up.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 12, 2004
    Conveying a sometimes-astonishing naïveté in light of the brutality seen through the eyes of an orphan boy, Rifkin breathes emotion into Spinelli's novel, which is set in Poland during the Holocaust. In 1939 Warsaw, a runty, ragged street thief who doesn't even know his name or if he ever had a family finds himself taken under the wing of a sharp, slightly older boy named Uri. The younger boy, now called Misha, learns a new, even more wretched way of life under Nazi occupation. He witnesses murder, torture and hatred firsthand, as taken out on the Jews by the cruel soldiers he knows as Jackboots. He further hones his scrappy survival skills, becomes part of a Jewish family in the ghetto and, miraculously, continues to muster hope as the months and years pass. Via Rifkin's cool yet compelling delivery, listeners discover—right along with an always wide-eyed Misha—some of the horrors that many innocent people suffered during this dark era of history. Though some listeners may be puzzled by Misha's detached air and consistent lack of awareness, Rifkin succeeds in making the audio experience an ultimately enlightening one. Ages 10-up.

  • Boston Herald "An extremely powerful book. Readers will be gripped by this story of a young orphan in Warsaw."
  • BookPage "Jerry Spinelli has fashioned a novel of beauty out of the ugliness of the Holocaust. It is a superb book, one of the best you will read."
  • Kirkus Reviews, Starred "Stunning."
  • VOYA "Spinelli creates a masterful achievement, a war story to be put alongside J. G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun and a literary accompaniement to Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful."
  • Library Media Connection, Starred "An unforgettable novel."
  • Booklist, Starred review "Part survival adventure, part Holocaust history, [this] novel tells the story through the eyes of a Polish orphan on the run from the Nazis."
  • Jewish Book World "This is a superb addition to the canon of young adult literature."
  • The Midwest Book Review "Unforgettable. . . a powerful story about one small boy's courage during a horrifying period of history. A heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story."

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    Random House Children's Books
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