The day Roberto and his friend Samuele are rounded up by German soldiers and put on a train marks both a beginning and an end. The boys have now become part of the war, providing forced labor for the Nazis at various work camps deep inside German territory. And it's the ending to all they've known -- before their lives as children in Venice, their innocence. For Roberto, the present is unbearable -- backbreaking work, near starvation, and protecting Samuele's secret that, if discovered, would mean death for both boys. Escape is Roberto's only hope, but the Russian winter is upon the land -- and any hope seems remote. But compared to the horrors he has suffered, can freezing be worse? Using the shimmering language that has marked her books Zel and The Magic Circle, Donna Jo Napoli writes a wrenching novel of a boy caught up in a war he hates. As pure as the snow that covers the vast lands he must cross, and as hard as the gift stone he carries with him as a kind of talisman, this is both a war story and a survival story. It is not only the story of how Roberto lives to tell his tale of cruelty and terror, but also how dreams and hope can endure despite the harshest tests. Donna Jo Napoli based this novel loosely on fact. She is the author of many award-winning books, among them Zel, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Choice of the Year's Best Books.
About Donna Jo Napoli
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Published October 1, 1997
by Dutton Juvenile.
War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, History, Travel, Comics & Graphic Novels.