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Once (Once #1)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  8,627 ratings  ·  989 reviews
Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn't know anything about the war, and thinks he's only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them--straight into the heart of Nazi-occu ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published 2005)
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Caroline Akervik I think I would describe it as bittersweet.
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Lyndsey
When I was young 'un, we had this storytelling board game in our house. If memory serves me right, it was called, simply, "Once..."



The basis of the game was to create a story from a card prompt and people had to guess whether it was true or not - or something like that anyway.



As many things do, at first this game went over my head a bit. *swoosh* Because in my everyday life, whenever I would try to make up a story (or more accurately - what you might call a white lie) to my friends or family, th
...more
Marjorie Ingall
I did not want to like Once. I hated that cover line: “Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.” Damn it, “anyone” does not agree with “their”! Even if I am the last person fighting this battle I will continue to fight it! GAH! But um, more importantly, Once sounded to me like a rehash of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a book I loathed. Children (and adults) do not need faux-naif, manipulative, emotionally inauthentic Holocaust books. I’d thought Once was about an ...more
Siobhan
I remember reading this book as a child still in primary school. It was a project and I was the only child in the class who fully understood what the child in the story was talking about. The burning books, the angry men in uniforms, the train, the carriages, the fear... What he was experiencing. No one else knew what it was that was so scary and terrifying about this story, except me. I guess that makes it worse in the long run.
I think that's why this story has stuck with me into my adulthood.
...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Now, I would have classed this short book as J rather than YA had there not been some horrifying scenes in it. The narrator, Felix, is a young Jewish boy who has been living in an orphanage in 1942 Poland, where his parents left him and from which he expects them to fetch him some day. What makes this such a chilling and hard-to-put-down book is Felix's naive and innocent view of the horrific events around him. It reminded me of John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in that respect. As the ...more
Elilith
Una vez nos cuenta la historia de Félix, un niño Judío cuyos padres eran propietarios de una librería en Polonia y que tras la invasión alemana, sus padres llevaron a un orfanato de monjas para hacerlo pasar por católico y salvarlo de su destino en los campos de concentración. No obstante Félix tiene una desbordante imaginación y se niega a creer en la posibilidad de que sus padres han muerto, está convencido de que le envian señales secretas y además cree que los alemanes odian a los judíos por ...more
Ruth
Felix's naivety is almost unbelievable at times. But then you think of the trauma a kid must go through, and how he was VERY misinformed by his parents- add that up with the number of deaths he sees, and you can sorta understand what the author was getting at. So here are some things I've learned from reading Holocaust books:

1. Being a Jew must suck. They got chased out of Israel by the Romans, which was when the fled to Europe, which was where many perished at the hands of the Nazis, which was
...more
Lisa Vegan
This is an all in one sitting type of read, and I did read it all in one day. It’s told from the point of view of a 9-10 year old Jewish boy, a storyteller, who’s caught up in the Holocaust. This story is powerful, compelling, and so very sad, yet somehow uplifting too, and even amusing every once in a while. I’ll be thinking quite a bit about Felix, Zelda, Barney, and some other characters. Felix is a fine narrator and everyone and everything come across very vividly. The author’s note at the e ...more
Paloma
This is one of my favorite books; I read this in grade 4 and I found it absolutely sad but amazing at the same time. I re-read it in grade 5 and still loved it but the second time I read it, I looked deeper into details, because I already knew what was going to happen, so I payed attention to all of the magnificent details Morris Gleitzman added to the story. I strongly recommend anyone reading this, it's a great book and I hope you enjoy it :)
Alex Baugh
Once I read a story about a 10 year old Jewish boy named Felix who lived in Poland in 1942 and I felt a terrible sadness as I read.

Once is very poignantly narrated by Felix. He tells the reader that he had been placed in a Catholic orphanage by his parents, booksellers in Poland, and has lived there for three years. He also tells the reader that he likes to make up stories and is considered by others to be quite good at it. Felix always carries a notebook in which he writes down his stories and
...more
Claudia
Once there was a boy named Felix who loved to make up stories. We meet Felix in an orphanage...he's not an orphan. His parents, who run a Jewish book store, have taken him there to be safe...and they will come back to get him soon. Once...

Felix sees the world through his young, innocent eyes and deeply misinterprets what's going on around him. Nazis come to the orphanage and burn books...Jewish books. Oh.

He runs away to find his parents...he stumbles onto a family on the ground with red around.
...more
Jackie
I came across this one through YA Sync’s free audio summer program. Generally, I’m not into war stories, particularly those written from a child’s perspective. I just don’t have a good track record with them. I’ve read Milkweed and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, both of which are similar to Once. In both books, I wanted to slap the narrators for their naivety of their situations. Since this one was free and the audio was only 3 hours I decided to give it a try.

The story is told from Felix’s per
...more
June Lee
Once is the first book in a series of books about a boy named Felix. This book happens during World War 2. After I read the book, I had a much better understanding of what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust and what people had to go through was. The ending of this book is a cliffhanger and you have to read the next book, Then, to find what happens to Felix and his friend Zelda.

I thought this book was a real page turner and I am glad that I started reading it, because I have really enjoye
...more
Lynda
Gleitzman delivers a sharp sense of what it must have been like to be a child during the Holocaust, forced to grow up far too quickly. Handled with sensitivity and care this book deals with themes such as Tolerance, Human Rights, Racism, Survival, and Morality.

Morris Gleitzman has created a wonderful character and vehicle in Felix, a 9 year old jewish boy. Through the eyes of this central character the reader witnesses humanity’s capacity for inhumanity. The events and experiences endured by Fel
...more
Maddie E
Once is a book about a boy called Felix who had lived in a Catholic orphanage for the last three years. He always hopes that his Jewish bookseller parents will come and get him. Alarmed by the sight of what he assumes are very important people burning Jewish books in the orphanage, he sets off in search of his parents to warn them. Morris Gleitzman brings heart and humour to the subject of the Holocaust (burning of books) in this amazing book. This book shows that no matter what even in the most ...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
This book really makes an impact. Felix is so innocent and sometimes naive and this, juxtaposed beside the awful happenings, violence and brutality, makes for a really gripping and intriguing story. I adored Felix and his thoughts towards his environment. The writing was simple and it felt like it was genuine, the true, raw thoughts of Felix. The rest of the characters, especially Barney, had their own charm and also felt very real. This is a charming yet heartbreaking book which is very effecti ...more
Lydia
Once is the first book out of the series of four books written by Morris Gleitzman. The book is narrated through the protagonist which happens to be a 9 year old boy called Felix. I admire Gleitzman’s skill in writing through the eyes of a child in such a horrific time. The author is able to portray the Holocaust and what it would be like for a young Polish boy in a very effective manner.

The book/series takes us on Felix’s journey to find his parents as a Jewish child in Poland in 1942. Felix, t
...more
Sam
This reminded me of "The boy in the striped pajamas" because of the young boys voice and naivety. Although this is from the other perspective, a Jewish boy going through the holocaust. It was an interesting read and I'll have to continue on with the other books to find out what happens because it doesn't end with the end of the war. It was sad in parts and I'd be interested to know if a young person would understand the true sadness of it.
Aray
Book review on book series Once by Morris Gleitzman

This book is about the life of Felix; a jewish boy trying to survive in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

I decided to read this book and the rest of the series because they were recommended to me by my mum and they sounded good though quite sad.

At the start of this book I found it quite annoying because it is written in a bit of a weird way and it seemed to keep changing from past tense to present tense and all the chapters start with once an
...more
Farhan
I decided to read this book because of my friends in intermediate. I saw them reading this book, they told me it was a good book, I then read the blurb and I didn't read the book at the time, but now I read the book and I loved it.
I liked it because it was about world war one. It was adventurous, sad, and scary in some parts of the story. The book made you visualize that you were the main character, since the book was in first person. The story makes the book really good that's why I liked it. S
...more
Maria Arca bustelo
"Todo el mundo merece que le ocurra algo bueno en su vida. Al menos una vez."

Una historia conmovedora contada desde los inocentes ojos de un niño de 8 años. Él mismo nos cuenta lo que se le va pasando por la cabeza en todo momento y su forma de ver el mundo cruel que le rodea. Su principal virtud es su ingenio y su imaginación. Tal como dice: "Es muy duro ser huérfano si no tienes mucha imaginación". También impresiona su valentía y su capacidad para sobrevivir a la dureza de lo inexplicable. Su
...more
Chester Clement
a touching story about a boy who is full of stories, hope and innocence. one day, he decided to escape from the orphanage on a journey to search for his parents. and from that moment on, he began to gradually see what the real world is. he met a few guardian angels in his journey and eventually he became one himself. and the ending really breaks my heart. plus, this story was set in the holocaust days, one can't even imagine all the miseries during that time.

this book is a story that i will trea
...more
Dana Probert
My ten year old daughter read this a few weeks ago. It was her first real exposure to the Holocaust. She said "I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad." I decided to read it myself. It's short- maybe 200 pages- and written at about a 4th grade reading level. It is about a Jewish boy whose parents leave him at a catholic orphanage to keep him safe. After three years, he runs away and has no idea what the Nazis are doing. It is hopeful, sad, wide eyed, wonderful, horrible... While boo ...more
Anna
During the first sixty pages, I wasn't sure if Felix was stupid or ignorant (like Bruno in Boy in the Striped Pajamas). Thankfully he wasn't stupid and after he figured out what was going on, I literally couldn't put it down and read it in about 3 hours.

As stated, I didn't really "get into" it until about page 60. This was also the most violent Holocaust novel I've read that wasn't set in a concentration camp. (did that make sense?) a baby's bloody corpse is in a high chair. It is suggested a Je
...more
Peep (Pop! Pop!)
You know, this may be more of a middle grade book, but it is still very good. Sometimes it's sad, sometimes funny, sometimes sweet, and sometimes horrifying.

Felix really was a great protagonist. You felt bad for him because part of me thinks he knew what was going on, but he tried so hard to make a different reality. It's understandable, but to me, the reader, it just made me sadder! At one point he sees “police” burning books and he convinces himself that they are against booksellers. I can se
...more
Joanne
Apr 29, 2012 Joanne added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Oh, such a sad and enlightening book. For those who ask, "How could the whole world stand by and convince themselves that the Holocaust [Libyan genocide/Serbian cleansing/...] wasn't happening?", Once will help you identify with the grim resolution of even those who are experiencing it to deny that it is happening. Of course, the protagonist in this story is just a small boy - 6 years old when his parents leave him at a Catholic orphanage in Poland to hide him - and he has had 4 years to constru ...more
Tasha
This book looks at the Holocaust through the lens of one boy. Felix is an extraordinary boy whose head is filled with stories that help explain the horrors he sees around himself. His parents had left him in a Catholic orphanage to keep him safe as Poland was invaded. But when he saw the books from the orphanage library being burned, he feared his parents were in danger since they were book sellers. He isn’t sure why the Nazis hate books so much, but he certainly doesn’t want his parents to be h ...more
Sofia
Once is a novel set in WWII Poland, and is about a 10-year-old Jewish boy, Felix. Felix is living in an Orphanage, hiding from the Nazi's, with parents still alive. One day, a carrot in his soup changes his life.
That carrot is the thing that makes him decide to escape the Orphanage.

The first place he goes to is his old house -- the bookshop his parents owned. The street was once crowded, but now it's deserted. New people have moved into the bookshop... and they know he's a jew. He runs away.
Sho
...more
Daniel L.
Janusz Korczak as a Pillar of Strength - Then and Now

This well-written young adult novel is by a talented Australian writer, whose hero is Janusz Korczak. In this novel, he tries to imagine the unimaginable, life in the Warsaw Ghetto. It is a novel not only of survival, but also finding the meaning of life in a community through good deeds, even in a setting in which evil is the rule. Janusz Korczak, a Polish doctor and educator who founded an orphanage in Warsaw before World War II and continue
...more
Monster
Once there was a boy who told stories, whose parents left him in an orphanage in the mountains and didn’t say why. He lived there for nearly four years, until one day he saw professional librarians arrive and burn all the books in the library. Except they weren’t librarians, and they were burning all the Jewish books they could find, not just in the library there, but everywhere. The boy decided to find his parents, Jewish booksellers, and help them save their books.


What he didn’t know, and read
...more
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Do you think there should be a movie about Morris Gleitzmann's series Once Then Now After 14 53 Mar 12, 2015 01:16PM  
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Week 5 Summary and Reaction Lakshay Patel 2 5 Nov 08, 2013 06:22PM  
  • Is It Night or Day?
  • The Year of Goodbyes
  • Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
  • The Mozart Question
  • Emil and Karl
  • Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba
  • Pennies for Hitler
  • Warriors in the Crossfire
  • The Diary of Laura's Twin
  • Run, Boy, Run
  • Hitler's Canary
  • My Family for the War
  • The Harmonica
  • The Wrong Boy
  • Someone Named Eva
  • What World is Left
  • In My Enemy's House
  • Black Radishes (Black Radishes, #1)
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Morris began his writing career as a screenwriter, and wrote his first children's novel in 1985. His brilliantly comic style has endeared him to children and adults alike, and he is now one of Australia's most successful authors, both internationally and at home. He was born in England in 1953 and emigrated to Australia in 1969 so he could escape from school and become a Very Famous Writer.

Before
...more
More about Morris Gleitzman...

Other Books in the Series

Once (5 books)
  • Then (Once, #2)
  • Now (Once, #3)
  • After (Once, #4)
  • Soon (Once, #5)
Then (Once, #2) Now (Once, #3) After (Once, #4) Boy Overboard Two Weeks with the Queen (Cascades)

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“Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once” 99 likes
“Barney said that everybody deserves to have something good in their life at least once. I have. More than once.” 16 likes
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