When Roberto sneaks off to see a movie in his Italian village, he has no idea that life as he knows it is over. German soldiers raid the theater, round up the boys in the audience, and pack them onto a train. After a terrifying journey, Roberto and his best friend Samuele find themselves in a brutal work camp, where food is scarce and horror is everywhere. The boys vow to stay together no matter what. But Samuele has a dangerous secret, which, if discovered, could get them both killed. Lovers of historical fiction will be captivated by this tragic, triumphant, and deeply moving novel.
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Donna Jo Napoli is the author of Crazy Jack, The Magic Circle, Stones in Water, and many other books. She is the chairperson of the linguistics department at Swarthmore College.From School Library Journal:
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
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Paw Prints 2008-04-18, 2008. Book Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP95138630
Book Description Paw Prints 2008-04-18, 2008. Library Binding. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG1435246802