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Annoation: Misha is a thief who steals to survive, he doesn't understand what the war is all about or why the Jews all have to live in the ghetto he is just trying to survive.
"I am running. That's the first thing I remember.", thus begins Milkweed the tale of a homeless boy living on the streets of Poland in 1939. He is smuggler and a thief who lives through occupation, segregation, and deportation in Warsaw. This boy carries the reader along to view the best and worst of humanity through the eyes of a child who is at once too young and too old. The story continues through his emigration to America.
While this novel is an accurate portrayal of history it is not only about history. It is an exploration of the human experience and the search for identity. Milkweed is full of vivid descriptions of the horrors experienced by those living and dying in the ghetto. Readers are allowed to see the after effects of the experience and the scars both physical and mental that the boy carries into adulthood. The power of the story is heightened by Spinelli's deft avoidance of sentimentality. This is a fine piece of work worthy of attention but not suited for those with weak stomachs.
Winner of the Golden Kite Award for Fiction
A Notable Children's Book of the Association of Jewish Libraries
Winner of the Parent's Guide Children's Media Award
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
National Jewish Book Award Finalist
Booklist Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth Selection
New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age