Milkweed Characters ✓ E-book, or Kindle E-pub

Jerry Spinelli Ó 9 Read & download

He’s a boy called Jew Gypsy Stopthief Runt Happy Fast Filthy son of Abraham He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans He’s a boy who believes in bread and mothers and angels He’s a boy wh I hope that nobody will look at me funny when I say that I love reading WWIIHolocaust stories I do I'm drawn to the stories of the people I want to know what it is in us that makes us so cruel to others I'm fascinated by people's stories real or fiction I don't think that they should be ignored or forgotten and acknowledging them makes me thankful for the good things that I have in my life Milkweed is a story of an orphan in 1930s Poland who knows nothing but survival Not who he is who other people are nothing of the world around him He knows only that he is small and fast and able to snatch food right from under the noses of the people it belongs to He is eventually taken in by a gang of orphan kids and becomes the special ward of one in particular Uri I really loved Uri's character He's generous kind wise beyond his years in tune with the world around him and street smart He teaches or tries to teach our main character orphan who he later names Misha about life and how to keep it His character is almost that of a mentor or older brother to clean slate Misha and I loved that he was stern with Misha when Misha obliviously ran dangerous risks that would endanger both Uri's and Misha's lives He makes sure that when they have a surplus of food that other orphans receive it When Misha ends up branded as a Jew and living in a ghetto in Warsaw the tables turn a bit and he begins to act the older brother role for a young girl named Janina Janina's family was once wealthy and well to do and living in the ghetto is a hard adjustment for her Her father Tobiasz takes in Misha as one of the family and Misha smuggles food in from outside the ghetto to help feed the family and a house of orphans in the care of another man Janina takes to following Misha on these trips which is frustrating to me as a reader because she's the epitome of a spoiled brat She refuses to do what she's told or to stay inconspicuous She willfully causes a scene to get her way and refuses to accept that her situation has changed I could not understand why Misha stuck by her I understand that he now considered her and Tobiasz as his family but I'd have probably beat her to a pulp in that situation Her father is a kind man and next to Uri the only character that I cared for He tries to make sure that his daughter is safely away from the ghetto when he finds out that they are being resettled elsewhere a concentration camp but she stubbornly and selfishly refuses I couldn't stand the little bratIt's hard for me to enjoy a story where so much focus is put on stupid or annoying characters that I cannot relate to Every decision that Misha or Janina made was contrary to the one that I'd have made in their place Janina ended up right where I thought she would in the end but until then every time that she wasn't caught by the patrols it was unrealistic and aggravating because she was essentially doing everything she could to be caught and just got insanely lucky time after time On top of that I felt like the writing was just off I don't know how to describe it but it felt simplistic to me even for a YA book But at the same time it felt like it was supposed to be imparting some great truths and while there were a few good uotes I didn't think that there was anything especially profound here So this was OK Not anywhere close to the best book I've read on this subject but not terrible I just expected a bit I think Peppa Pig people I want to know what it is in us that makes us so cruel to others I'm fascinated by Dot.Homme people's stories real or fiction I don't think that they should be ignored or forgotten and acknowledging them makes me thankful for the good things that I have in my life Milkweed is a story of an orphan in 1930s Poland who knows nothing but survival Not who he is who other The West (3rd Edition) people are nothing of the world around him He knows only that he is small and fast and able to snatch food right from under the noses of the The Maddest Idea (Revolution at Sea people it belongs to He is eventually taken in by a gang of orphan kids and becomes the special ward of one in The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running particular Uri I really loved Uri's character He's generous kind wise beyond his years in tune with the world around him and street smart He teaches or tries to teach our main character orphan who he later names Misha about life and how to keep it His character is almost that of a mentor or older brother to clean slate Misha and I loved that he was stern with Misha when Misha obliviously ran dangerous risks that would endanger both Uri's and Misha's lives He makes sure that when they have a surplus of food that other orphans receive it When Misha ends up branded as a Jew and living in a ghetto in Warsaw the tables turn a bit and he begins to act the older brother role for a young girl named Janina Janina's family was once wealthy and well to do and living in the ghetto is a hard adjustment for her Her father Tobiasz takes in Misha as one of the family and Misha smuggles food in from outside the ghetto to help feed the family and a house of orphans in the care of another man Janina takes to following Misha on these trips which is frustrating to me as a reader because she's the epitome of a spoiled brat She refuses to do what she's told or to stay inconspicuous She willfully causes a scene to get her way and refuses to accept that her situation has changed I could not understand why Misha stuck by her I understand that he now considered her and Tobiasz as his family but I'd have A Biggles Omnibus probably beat her to a The Power of Soft pulp in that situation Her father is a kind man and next to Uri the only character that I cared for He tries to make sure that his daughter is safely away from the ghetto when he finds out that they are being resettled elsewhere a concentration camp but she stubbornly and selfishly refuses I couldn't stand the little bratIt's hard for me to enjoy a story where so much focus is Moscow, December 25, 1991 put on stupid or annoying characters that I cannot relate to Every decision that Misha or Janina made was contrary to the one that I'd have made in their Planetary Forces, Alchemy and Healing place Janina ended up right where I thought she would in the end but until then every time that she wasn't caught by the The Shepherds Bush Murders patrols it was unrealistic and aggravating because she was essentially doing everything she could to be caught and just got insanely lucky time after time On top of that I felt like the writing was just off I don't know how to describe it but it felt simplistic to me even for a YA book But at the same time it felt like it was supposed to be imparting some great truths and while there were a few good uotes I didn't think that there was anything especially Red Centre (Alpha Force, profound here So this was OK Not anywhere close to the best book I've read on this subject but not terrible I just expected a bit I think

Review È E-book, or Kindle E-pub Ó Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed

O wants to be a Nazi some day with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of What a powerful book 45 starsIt's so hard to imagine thousands of people being murdered because of the religion they choose to practice However as we read today's headlines and we see people many of whom are in positions of great power vilifying all Muslims because some are extremist terrorists honestly the extremist Christians running America right now are a whole lot scarier Let's hope justice catches up to them and soonWWII in Poland young and old starving doing what they have to do to survive thousands of Jews being imprisoned massacred This book brought that whole horrible time up close and personal I lost myself completely in this world and as brutal as it was there were glimmers of hope in the kindness of men and women who risked punishment even death to stand up for what was right This is a book that will stay with me forever A powerful read and a beautifully performed audiobook as well Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it George Santayana

Read Milkweed

All to be nobodyNewbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable Nazi occupied Warsaw of World War II and tells a tale of heartbreak hope and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan From the Hardcover edition There's something special something real about Jerry Spinelli's books His style of writing is one of my absolute favourites You don't just read his books You get inside the pages and stand on the street corner while the pickpockets run the bombs fall and the Jackboots march in their perfect rows It's not just a story It's your story because you're in it The characters the plot the setting the details the dialogue all pitch perfect I had to read the whole book in one sitting You lived and breathed with the characters sharing their laughter triumph tears and the hopelessness of their world You start believing in bread in running in angels You see why they say mothers aren't real and neither are oranges Real mother's don't die And if the war ever ends and life returns to normal you see why if you've always been a homeless thief there is no normal to return to It's a sad book sad and happy all at once I don't often find books that capture a world But this one did


10 thoughts on “Milkweed

  1. says:

    I initially read this book to determine whether it was appropriate for my 11 year old daughter to read Although it is considered a YA novel any book fiction or non fiction with a theme centered around the holocaust is a novel I want to preview before allowing my child to absorbI was immediately drawn to the short sentence structure and uick action From the beginning the reader is drawn into an eight year old orphan boy's innocent view of a world where he must steal and become virtually invisible to survive It's a uick read; I read it in one day It is the boy's innocent and honest view of the world around him during one of the most horrific times in history that kept me turning the pages The boy's innocence and naivete to the chaos and pure hatred surrounding him is touching and rather humorous at times Although Milkweed is a work of fiction it made me wonder how close it came to the inner workings of a child's mind during this time period While the central theme revolves around the time leading up to the holocaust it only takes the reader through the time when Jews were relocated out of their homes to the ghetto It touches briefly on the time of deportation when those housed in ghettos were put on trains for human shipment to concentration camps However it never visits the horrors of an actual concentration campSome of the prevalent messages that stood out for me in Milkweed were those of hope love and inner happiness at a time when Nazi occupation colored the world gray with irrational hatred and unfair brutality I found myself lingering with thoughts of the book long after I read the final page After reading Milkweed I would allow my daughter to read it I think I would rather read it with her though so if she had any thoughts or uestions we could talk about it along the way


  2. says:

    I hope that nobody will look at me funny when I say that I love reading WWIIHolocaust stories I do I'm drawn to the stories of the people I want to know what it is in us that makes us so cruel to others I'm fascinated by people's stories real or fiction I don't think that they should be ignored or forgotten and acknowledging them makes me thankful for the good things that I have in my life Milkweed is a story of an orphan in 1930s Poland who knows nothing but survival Not who he is who other people are nothing of the world around him He knows only that he is small and fast and able to snatch food right from under the noses of the people it belongs to He is eventually taken in by a gang of orphan kids and becomes the special ward of one in particular Uri I really loved Uri's character He's generous kind wise beyond his years in tune with the world around him and street smart He teaches or tries to teach our main character orphan who he later names Misha about life and how to keep it His character is almost that of a mentor or older brother to clean slate Misha and I loved that he was stern with Misha when Misha obliviously ran dangerous risks that would endanger both Uri's and Misha's lives He makes sure that when they have a surplus of food that other orphans receive it When Misha ends up branded as a Jew and living in a ghetto in Warsaw the tables turn a bit and he begins to act the older brother role for a young girl named Janina Janina's family was once wealthy and well to do and living in the ghetto is a hard adjustment for her Her father Tobiasz takes in Misha as one of the family and Misha smuggles food in from outside the ghetto to help feed the family and a house of orphans in the care of another man Janina takes to following Misha on these trips which is frustrating to me as a reader because she's the epitome of a spoiled brat She refuses to do what she's told or to stay inconspicuous She willfully causes a scene to get her way and refuses to accept that her situation has changed I could not understand why Misha stuck by her I understand that he now considered her and Tobiasz as his family but I'd have probably beat her to a pulp in that situation Her father is a kind man and next to Uri the only character that I cared for He tries to make sure that his daughter is safely away from the ghetto when he finds out that they are being resettled elsewhere a concentration camp but she stubbornly and selfishly refuses I couldn't stand the little bratIt's hard for me to enjoy a story where so much focus is put on stupid or annoying characters that I cannot relate to Every decision that Misha or Janina made was contrary to the one that I'd have made in their place Janina ended up right where I thought she would in the end but until then every time that she wasn't caught by the patrols it was unrealistic and aggravating because she was essentially doing everything she could to be caught and just got insanely lucky time after time On top of that I felt like the writing was just off I don't know how to describe it but it felt simplistic to me even for a YA book But at the same time it felt like it was supposed to be imparting some great truths and while there were a few good uotes I didn't think that there was anything especially profound here So this was OK Not anywhere close to the best book I've read on this subject but not terrible I just expected a bit I think


  3. says:

    This is the first Jerry Spinelli book that I have read I bought Stargirl at the same time and after reading Milkweed I am excited to start reading Stargirl Spinelli does well to portray the voice of a young orphan boy in Warsaw There are a lot of reviews about this and the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas that say that it is unbelievable that there were children that did not know what was going on around them I really disagree with these statements I have taught 5th graders and 6th graders that had no idea that we are at war with Ira So I do not personally find it hard to believe that this innocence or lack of knowledge occured even during the WWII Era with the Jews This was a great book about friendship and the importance of families no matter who they are make up of I think that it also shows us the importance of belonging Misha really didn't care about what group thieves orphans Jews Jackboots he belonged in he just wanted to belong


  4. says:

    I love both Maniac Magee and Stargirl but this book left me cold I found it unbelievable I didn't really care about the characters Spinelli is usually good to pull me into the story but this story just made me feel yucky I didn't get the whole Candy man in the Ghetto Where did he come from In every story I've ever read about the Holocaust the children and adults are always afraid of the soldiers I found the idea of the Misha and Janina taunting the Mint man annoying It wouldn't have happened that way I found the story annoying and trite I expect better from SpinelliEdited to AddI think I figured out why this story bothers me so much Spinelli tells of a boy who is fast smart and lucky enough to escape the Nazis This story feeds into the fact that victims need to be better stronger faster clever etc and if they are they can outsmart their abusers I feel that stories like this perpetuate the myth that the victim is responsible for their own escape from abuse This story is why so many who have not been abused or in horrible situations say things like Well why didn't they just walk away Why didn't they tell someone Torture and abuse go so far beyond what normal people realize that normal reactions don't happen when a person is in the thick of horror This story asks the uestions Misha was able to walk away from the Ghetto why didn't all those other Jews just walk away from the Ghetto? It isn't realistic I feel this story downplays the suffering of those who lived through the death camps and all of those who didn't Why didn't all those other Jews steal food so they didn't starve to death? They should have been as smart as Misha who is fictional Now that I've identified why I don't like this book I feel better not about the book


  5. says:

    What a powerful book 45 starsIt's so hard to imagine thousands of people being murdered because of the religion they choose to practice However as we read today's headlines and we see people many of whom are in positions of great power vilifying all Muslims because some are extremist terrorists honestly the extremist Christians running America right now are a whole lot scarier Let's hope justice catches up to them and soonWWII in Poland young and old starving doing what they have to do to survive thousands of Jews being imprisoned massacred This book brought that whole horrible time up close and personal I lost myself completely in this world and as brutal as it was there were glimmers of hope in the kindness of men and women who risked punishment even death to stand up for what was right This is a book that will stay with me forever A powerful read and a beautifully performed audiobook as well Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it George Santayana


  6. says:

    I loved loved this book It was so well written and I completely fell in love with the characters I wanted to leap through the pages and save them all I have read some of this author’s other works with my boys when they were young He writes youth fiction and is always age appropriate But I haven’t loved his other books like I love this one I wish I had come across this particular book when I used to read to my boys It would have brought about a great discussion that would surely have given them food for thought regarding WWII and the lives of children I give this book 5 stars for many reasons It was well written it was age appropriate it had a great message it kept me interested and the author nailed the basic nature of humans in each character whether good or bad I usually never read reviews before I have written my own I can’t believe how many people have written that this wasn’t the best book they have ever read on the WWII and the persecution of Jews when they were not the intended target audience for this book It wasn't meant to be the best book ever written on WWII or the holocaust I think Spinelli accomplished the telling of this awful time in history in a manner in which kids would understand and even sympathize with without scaring them for life And I think that is saying a lot especially when I consider some the inappropriate books my kids have been given to read over the years Just sayin'


  7. says:

    I would venture that this is a read alike for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Set in Poland during World War II Milkweed is told through the uniue perspective of one of those lost through the cracks kids Our MC Misha for all intents and purposes is a thief a runner an orphan a gypsy with no memory of his life before the story begins He steals food to survive and has zero awareness of what is going on in his little world outside of the speeding images that he runs past daily Misha stumbles upon a group of boys thieves like himself and learns a bit about what is happening and what it means The imagery is startling in it's youthful metaphors and innocence Spinelli uses Misha's voice to show us what the world looked like and what it truly means to be invisible This is one of those books that reminds me I'm a monster or that I have broken eyes or some such thing I bet this book makes loads of people cry but not me my eyes were bone dry


  8. says:

    It's taken me a little while to put into words a review for this book My son and I have been studying WW2 and the Holocaust We have read and watched numerous stories fiction and non fiction pertaining to our unit study This book is one of the absolute best Don't get me wrong the content is difficult unfathomable and just downright hard to read but if we want to understand history we can't sugar coat it My son is 11 and became so deeply enthralled by this story that we ended up reading it every day for hours and hours just to get through to the end The story even though it is a work of fiction will stay with you for a very long time We even went out and bought a Milkweed plant for our garden after reading this It should be on every middle schoolers reuired reading list


  9. says:

    There's something special something real about Jerry Spinelli's books His style of writing is one of my absolute favourites You don't just read his books You get inside the pages and stand on the street corner while the pickpockets run the bombs fall and the Jackboots march in their perfect rows It's not just a story It's your story because you're in it The characters the plot the setting the details the dialogue all pitch perfect I had to read the whole book in one sitting You lived and breathed with the characters sharing their laughter triumph tears and the hopelessness of their world You start believing in bread in running in angels You see why they say mothers aren't real and neither are oranges Real mother's don't die And if the war ever ends and life returns to normal you see why if you've always been a homeless thief there is no normal to return to It's a sad book sad and happy all at once I don't often find books that capture a world But this one did


  10. says:

    Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is another disappointing addition to recent Holocaust fiction which has made its way into classrooms displacing worthwhile and significant works of fiction and non fiction Perhaps that makes me resent it a little than it deserves The author means well The author tried Nonetheless the author does not fulfill his responsibility to his chosen setting what for many people is a history they live in their memories in family’s memories and in the memories that are missing a history their family trees will never recover from I gave the book 15 stars because it is better than The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which set a low bar for Holocaust fiction The two do share at least a few notable similarities They won enough critical attention to become integrated into school curricula The authors profess no personal connections to the Holocaust And the protagonists of both books are young boys completely oblivious to their social contexts Strangely enough neither protagonist knows what a Jew is at the start of their storyMilkweed told from the perspective of a young orphan growing up on the streets in Warsaw and later in the Warsaw ghetto has all the ingredients for a thought provoking exploration of what would be challenging and important themes for readers for any age It should be a story with great symbolism and significance It should be tragic moving haunting Indeed the author loads the story with symbols stone angels and milkweed pods being the most obvious and does not sugarcoat the grimness of the setting It is about a boy’s search for identity and belonging about his introduction to human brutality and about his hope and transcendence of suffering It has potential But the book is incredible in the most unfavorable sense of the term Weighty symbolism and a tragic setting are not enough to carry a storyThe author is to an extent faithful to history It was a brutal time and he does not shy away from the brutality In fact he shows us little else Without outside knowledge the reader would be ignorant that Warsaw was a vibrant center of Jewish life before the war One might argue that the protagonist’s experiences did not extend that far so it has no place in the narrative But that reality is also a crucial element to understanding the Warsaw setting Jews sprang into the protagonist’s consciousness only as the objects of self hatred and societal derision and the targets of violence from others and from each other The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising barely earns a mention it happens after the narrator escapes the city The Jews in the ghetto come across as hardly than doomed husks of humanity But the narrator is different He is not a Jew that is one of the few things he knows about himself He knows he is a Gypsy though he has no concept of growing up as a member of a marginalized and stigmatized group He also knows he is a thief he calls himself Stopthief because that is what everyone else calls him But he is not just any thief; he is a thief of Robin Hood esue skill and bravado gracing his starving Jewish friends in the ghetto with the fruits of his forays across the wall His innate thieving skills give him the ability to smuggle food across the ghetto wall with an impunity that would have gotten anyone else killed To whatever extent the author was successful in recreating the setting he undermines it with the unbalanced view of Jewish life in Warsaw and with an unconvincing narratorThe unrelenting parade of brutality against Jews that the narrator witnesses comes across as voyeuristic rather than educational The protagonist’s unexplained cluelessness when it comes to these grotesue acts of violence and inhumanity seems like a disingenuous attempt to increase the shock value of the descriptions Having lived on the streets for long enough to become a skilled thief a survivor the protagonist would be able to sense the difference between whatever activities normally took place on streets before the Nazi invasion and acts of violence targeted against Jews that followed the invasion He must have developed some kind of interpretive framework to understand his world Without any kind of explanation of the protagonist’s background or any insight into how he might have lost his memories the eyes of “innocence” through which he views Nazi violence are not believableI cannot help but ponder Spinelli’s use of a complete tabula rasa as his protagonist He is not alone in this urge the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas did the same They both create a character who has grown up in a certain context but is for unexplained reasons completely oblivious to that context in their basic knowledge beliefs and assumptions and experiences I would argue that if this is going to be one of the defining characteristics of a character it should be interrogated and explored How we become who we are is part of why we see things the way we do and why we act as we do There are compelling reasons why a character regardless of age might have no recollection of their past Their past does not have to be explained or resolved but it will filter into their present in meaningful ways Their unknown past will influence the telling of the story But when this blankness is used as the pretext for an otherwise inexplicable collection of traits then it is lazy writing How does Spinelli’s protagonist who has no street sense achieve his phenomenal acts of theft? As oblivious as he is how did he even survive to the start of the story let alone its end? Making the protagonist a blank slate is an easy way to disclaim responsibility to the historical setting The author can and does avoid any real engagement with the issues he raises And there are plenty of issues in this book worthy of deeper engagement what it meant to be labeled a Jew or a Gypsy before or after the Nazi invasion; what it meant to be homeless or orphaned in urban Poland; what it means to have no memories of your own no past no sense of belonging; what impact witnessing pervasive violence has on growing up Anything inaccurate or unbelievable can be explained away as a product of the protagonist’s lack of comprehension or of their fragmented experience of their own life The author frees himself from having to write a character who embodies the history beliefs and upbringing of their times The character can thus serve as a stand in for the author himself a vehicle for whatever message or symbolism the author wants to express That is not a responsible engagement with our past Nor is it very good literature All it can produce is a one dimensional cut and paste version of history that uses real events like cheap propsMilkweed has another characteristic which undermines the narrator’s effectiveness The narrator interjects occasional bouts of omniscience with his obliviousness The contrast undermines his portrayal as oblivious or innocent By the end it becomes clear that he is an old man looking back to his childhood But throughout it seemed that the author wanted to have it both ways to write someone who is oblivious to everything except whatever facts the author felt he needed to advance the story This unevenness in perspective does not do anything purposeful in a literary sense If done right a similar techniue might destabilize our frames of reference to increase the effect of the protagonist’s dislocation in his violent and unpredictable environment In this story though it only erases any potential of the narrator to be convincing or compellingThe best I can say is that I found Milkweed to be an uninspiring foray into the horrors of history


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