The day Roberto and his friend Samuele are rounded up by German soldiers and put on a train marks both a beginning and an end. The boys have now become part of the war, providing forced labor for the Nazis at various work camps deep inside German territory. And it's the ending to all they've known -- before their lives as children in Venice, their innocence. For Roberto, the present is unbearable -- backbreaking work, near starvation, and protecting Samuele's secret that, if discovered, would mean death for both boys. Escape is Roberto's only hope, but the Russian winter is upon the land -- and any hope seems remote. But compared to the horrors he has suffered, can freezing be worse? Using the shimmering language that has marked her books Zel and The Magic Circle, Donna Jo Napoli writes a wrenching novel of a boy caught up in a war he hates. As pure as the snow that covers the vast lands he must cross, and as hard as the gift stone he carries with him as a kind of talisman, this is both a war story and a survival story. It is not only the story of how Roberto lives to tell his tale of cruelty and terror, but also how dreams and hope can endure despite the harshest tests. Donna Jo Napoli based this novel loosely on fact. She is the author of many award-winning books, among them Zel, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Choice of the Year's Best Books.
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Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many books for children and young adults includingThe Magic Circle, Zel, and Stones in Water. She has won numerous awards, including the Golden Kite Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Stones in Water. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Grade 4-9?Napoli, who has written in a variety of genres?fantasy, mystery, realistic fiction, legends?demonstrates that she has mastered historical fiction as well. Sneaking into the cinema to see an American Western during World War II has grave consequences for Roberto, a Venetian middle-school student, his brother, and two friends. The young male audience is trapped by German soldiers and transported by train out of Italy as cheap forced labor. The first project, constructing a tarmac, goes smoothly, despite wretched living conditions. Separated from his older brother, timid Roberto relies on his quick-thinking friend, Samuele. Both realize the necessity of hiding Samuele's Jewish identity from their captors and fellow prisoners. When a "shipment" of Polish Jews arrive and are penned near the labor group, Roberto uses his ingenuity to help feed two Jewish girls with his meager rations. After Samuele is beaten to death trying to save Roberto's scavenged boots, Roberto escapes. He is a displaced gondolier trying to navigate his boat on a modern Styx, a hellish river journey with slim chances for survival. Few books view the Holocaust from this vantage point; few readers are familiar with the Venetian/Italian connection to the work camps. Others will be interested in this story as survivalism from the worst kind of nightmare. Many children will be ensnared by the author's paean to the art and value of storytelling. Samuele's legacy is the nourishing stories that keep Roberto alive. An intense, gripping tale.?Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
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Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. THE BOOK IS NEW IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.MULTIPLE COPIES AVAILABLE. FAST SHIPPING. WE OFFER FREE TRACKING NUMBER UPON FAST SHIPMENT OF YOUR ORDER. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS AND WE WILL GET BACK TO YOU ASAP. Thank you for your interest. Bookseller Inventory # 0525458425-N
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