Once – Morris Gleitzman


“Everyone deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.”

Shockingly, I had not even heard of this book until recently. Teaching World War II to eight year olds, I was researching ‘quality texts’ to enrich their learning. I came across this book during my search and bought it, thinking – naively – that it looked like a nice children’s book.

I settled down on a Sunday to start reading, and did not move or even look up until I had finished. At this point, tears were streaming down my face (and I would not describe myself as a particularly emotional person) and I immediately bought the rest of the books in the series (Then, Now, After, Soon).

The subject matter is not easy. Written from the viewpoint of a young Jewish boy, we witness the horrors of the Holocaust with all of the innocence and pure ignorance of a child. I cried and cried – not only for Felix and his friends, but for every man, woman and child who had to live through (and likely die during) this terrible time. Felix may not have existed, but boys like him certainly did and through this novel, we can see the dangers in not confronting this kind of behaviour.

Everyone knows the Holocaust was terrible, but sometimes it is easy to overlook the human element. Read this book. Absorb this book. Let’s work together to ensure this stops and never happens again, particularly in this divisive world.


Once (Once/Now/Then/After)

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