Summary: Felix has been living in an orphanage for years in Nazi-occupied Poland. He is Jewish and completely unaware of what is going on beyond the walls of the orphanage. Convinced his parents are searching for him, Felix runs away, literally taking his life into his hands as he tries to find his family.
Thoughts: Once is a true standout among Holocaust novels. Morris Gleitzman brilliantly juxtaposes Felix’s innocence against the atrocities carried out by the Nazi regime. The understanding reader views the happenings through the naive eyes of a child. It is incredibly powerful and heartbreaking as Felix begins to realize what is going on around him and is forced to grow up way too fast. I really loved this main character and the other characters he meets along his journey, one based on a real-life hero from this time. Although it is difficult to read about the Holocaust, I look forward to reading more about these characters in the sequel, Then.