4.23 (22,547 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
4.23 (22,547 ratings by Goodreads)
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My name is Felix. This is my story.

Felix has been living in an orphanage for three years and eight months when the men in armbands arrive to burn the books.

Going on the run in search of his parents, Felix soon learns that Poland in 1942 is not a safe place for Jewish boys. But can his gift for storytelling keep him one step ahead of the Nazis and help him find his parents?

After all, everybody deserves to have something good in their life at least once.

'Morris Gleitzman has a rare gift for writing very funny stories and an even rarer gift of wrapping very serious stories inside them' - Guardian

Once is the first in a series of novels about Felix and his family. The sequels - Then, After, Soon, Maybe and Now - are also available from Puffin.
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Interested in all the books in this Series? Click here

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 9mm | 117g
  • Puffin
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780141320632
  • 936

Review quote

“Like "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (rev. 9/06), this Holocaust parable plays its main character’s naiveté against readers’ likely knowledge of the historical realities, but here the juxtaposition is believable and not at all precious; like "The Book Thief "(rev. 3/06), the novel extols the power of storytelling in the face of tragedy, but "Once" pits Felix’s stories against even deeper ugliness. ... Gleitzman manages to find a grain of hope in the unresolved (and likely dire) conclusion, but this is the rare Holocaust book for young readers that doesn’t alleviate its dark themes with a comforting ending.”—"The Horn Book, "Starred Review“This gripping novel will make readers want to find out more”—"Booklist"
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About Morris Gleitzman

Morris Gleitzman was born in Lincolnshire and moved to Australia in his teens. He worked as a paperboy, a shelf-stacker, a frozen chicken de-froster, an assistant to a fashion designer and more before taking a degree in Professional Writing at Canberra College and becoming a writer. He has written for TV, stage, newspapers and magazines but is best-known for his hugely succesful children's books including Two Weeks with the Queen, Bumface, Boy Overboard and Girl Underground.
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Rating details

22,547 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 46% (10,290)
4 37% (8,363)
3 13% (3,023)
2 3% (608)
1 1% (263)

Our customer reviews

Captivating is just one of the many words to describe this story. I discovered myself hidden away from the world, while reading the tale of young children during WWII. Some what like the characters, I felt as if I was there watching as the pain slowly killed them. Only 9 years old when I escaped an orphanage on a mission to find my parents, Felix has to find a way of surviving from the Nazi's... Though how? Morris Gleitzman uses words for the readers to imagine. Doing that very well. From readers that understand happiness and that sometimes that it can take a turn, I am sure they will want to read the books over for that extra experience that we felt. I had a plan for me and Zelda. Pretend to be someone else. Find new parents. Be safe forever. Then the Nazis came.show more
by shmeegle
This is a lovely little book written for children so is quite short, but oh so poignant and heartbreaking. It has a similar feel to "Boy In the Striped Pyjamas" The story is about a little Jewish boy called Felix looking for his Mum and Dad after the start of WWII, they have left him in an orphanage in Poland as they could see what was about to happen. He runs away to find them as he does not understand what is happening around him. His adventures are traumatic and tragic. Its hard to imagine how these children, thousands of them, had to endure these things alone with no idea whether or not they would ever see their parents again! Its strange that a lot of these little books written for children are so sad and tragic but uplifting at the same time! I would recommend this book to childrens and their parents alike.show more
by Penny Cunningham
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