Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

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He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. 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 some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat 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 of World War II—and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Jerry Spinelli

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Jerry Spinelli won the Newbery Medal in 1991 for Maniac Magee, one of his more than 25 acclaimed books for young readers. He now lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Eileen Spinelli, who is also an author of children's books.
Published January 1, 2004 by Scholastic. 208 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History, Nature & Wildlife, Young Adult. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Milkweed

Kirkus Reviews

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When the reader first meets the narrator of this tale, he knows himself only as “Stopthief.” He is a Warsaw street orphan, without morals, without culture, without community—until Uri takes him in to join his pack of fellow orphans, all Jews.

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The Guardian

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The little boy does not know his age, does not even know his name;

Sep 18 2004 | Read Full Review of Milkweed

Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Common Sense Media

people who have not read this book read it .it is a really good book This book interested me two years ago when I bought it, or rather, my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Burger, bought it for me at a book fair.

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Common Sense Media


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Common Sense Media

I love this book so much, and it's definitely one of the best Holocaust books there are (and I've read a lot).

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Common Sense Media

But even for a survivor like Misha, conditions soon become unbearable -- and Misha must decide where he belongs.

Sep 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Milkweed


It is Uri who guides Misha through life on the streets, but when Misha sees a girl he knows herded into the Warsaw ghetto with her family, he knows he must follow her.

Sep 09 2003 | Read Full Review of Milkweed

Greenwich Library

He marches alongside the Jews on the way to the ghetto, gives food to an orphanage, steals from the "fox fur" ladies and sneaks out at night to steal food to bring back to the ghetto.

Nov 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Milkweed

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