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Friday, June 03, 2016

Nearly Finished... Soon by Morris Gleitzman

It has taken me a while to get hold of this because the book was always out from my school library. It's interesting, really - my school, in Melbourne's western suburbs, is very multicultural, with quite a few Muslim kids in the mix, yet everyone is fascinated by Holocaust era fiction, and this series is much loved. Even a young man I know is capable of reading much more difficult fiction - I've just lent him Melina Marchetta's The Piper's Son - wanted to read this series(or "family of books" as the author calls it). He is a refugee himself and it resonated with him.

We now have two copies; I have one and I saw one of my students yesterday with the other copy, lent to her by the literacy co-ordinator. I suggested we could discuss it on Monday. I'm nearly finished and know, just know, that our hero Felix is heading for yet another tragedy. It's only comforting to know that he ends up in Australia as a well respected and much loved doctor, adored by his granddaughter. Not a spoiler, as we learned this two books ago. Right now, though, he's a thirteen year old boy who is trying to survive, with his friend Gabriek, a man who saved his life, and an orphaned baby thrust into his arms by a despairing mother just before she was killed. And it hurts to read.

Now that it's on the CBCA short list, I can add it to my display.

As far as I'm concerned, if it doesn't win this year's Younger Reader prize, there's no justice. How does Morris Gleitzman  do it, time after time? How does he manage to draw you in and make you cheer for his characters and care what happens to them, smile at the gentle humour - and then break your heart again, as he breaks theirs? Damn you, Gleitzman!

If you haven't read this series yet, go and do it - immediately! The author says you don't have to read it from the beginning, you can read it in any order, but I do recommend you at least start with Once, or when you go back to read it, you will already know what happens to Felix's friends and that might spoil it for you. 

But make sure you have a good supply of tissues!

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