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Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli (Maniac McGee, Stargirl) paints a vivid picture of the streets of the Nazi-occupied Warsaw during World War II, as seen through the eyes of a curious, kind, heartbreakingly na?ve orphan with many names. His name is Stopthief when people shout "Stop! Thief!" as he flees with stolen bread. Or it's Jew, "filthy son of Abraham," depending on who's talking to him. Or, maybe he's a Gypsy, because his eyes are black, his skin is dark, and he wears a mysterious yellow stone around his neck. His new friend and protector Uri forces him to take the name Misha Pilsudski and to memorize a made-up story about his Gypsy background so that no one will mistake him for a Jew and kill him. Misha, a very young boy, is slow to understand what's happening around him. When he sees people running, he thinks it's a race. Nazis (Jackboots, as the children call them) marching through the streets appear to him as a delightful parade of magnificent boots. He wants to be a Jackboot! (Uri smacks him for saying this.) He compares bombs to sauerkraut kettles, machine guns to praying mantises, and tanks to "colossal gray long-snouted beetles." The story of Misha and his band of orphans trying to survive on their own would have a deliciously Dickensian quality, if it weren't for the devastation around them--people hurrying to dig trenches to stop Nazi tanks, shops exploding in flames, the wailing of sirens, buzzing airplanes, bombs, and human torture. Spinelli has written a powerfully moving story of survival--readers will love Misha the dreamer and his wonderfully poetic observations of the world around him, his instinct to befriend a Jewish girl and her family, his impulse to steal food for a local orphanage and his friends in the ghetto, and his ability to delight in small things even surrounded by the horror of the Holocaust. A remarkable achievement. (Ages 11 and older) --Karin Snelson

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 who 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 all to be nobody.

Newbery 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.

Customer Reviews:

  • Another Spinelli's Good Book.
    Milkweed is about a boy called Misha Pilsudski in the World War 2 where Nazi started to take over the Eroupe.He was a litte Gypsi boy who became a member of a group made of thief Jew boys. Uri, the one who found Misha and took care of him was a Jew, but also a Jackboot(German soldier). When boys and Misha went to Gato, Misha had a hard time. While all this was happening, he became part of a family with his younger friend, Jania and her family. Later, due to Uri's help, he escaped. This book has an unexpected ending that makes readers surprise. There are a lot of books describing Jewish people's hard time, but this book gives us whole different feeling. By inculuding main character who was Gypsi and theif rather than Jewish, this book explain hard time in that period in easier way. Unlike its cover, it doesn't has only dark side. Jerry Spenelli shows hope and innocence of kids' mind really well in this book. This is definitely the one of the best book Spinelli wrote....more info
  • I am nobody
    I will introduce this book to anyone that's interested in WWII. It was wonderful and a little sad to read about the running, snatching, shooting, dying, angels, milkweed pods, burning cows, Jannina, dying wives, fox furs that stare at you all the time, etc. I felt very very touched and this book made me realise how lucky I actually am. I felt an attachment to the relationship between Misha and Uri, Misha and Jannia as the story went on. I couldn't help but hope that all of them would turn out fine, but clearly, that wasn't the case.

    Read this, I promise you that you'll not regret....more info
  • Milweed
    The Jews suffered so much in the time of the Holocost. THe book Milkweed ilistrates this for you. When you read Milkweed you can get the feeling of how it felt to be beaten and bossed around by the Nazi's. In the time of the holocost if you were a Jew you were treated with no respect. The people beat you up and the Nazi's took away your home and food and everything that you owned. This book is very touching and will help you understand what it is like to be a Jew during the Holocost. This book gets a two thumbs up and should be read by everyone....more info
  • Milkweed
    I read this book and i loved it! The boy, Misha, gives the story a different point of view because he wants to be a Nazi but soon changes his mind.
    This is a story of a boy who lives in Warsaw, Poland. He doesn't know anything about himself. No name, no family, nothing except he has a yellow stone necklace. One day while steeling a loaf of bread he is caught by another theif. The theifs name is Uri. Uri takes the boy in, cleans him up, and finds him a bed. Uri also gives him a name and a life story. Soon the Nazis invade Poland and the jews are forced to move to the ghetto. Its really an amazing book that tells the trials the jews went through. The way Jerri Spinelli writes really brings you into the book and it feels as if you were there watching it take place....more info
  • Worthwhile for kids and adults
    An interesting portrayal of the evolving response of one child to the Nazi program to exterminate Polish Jews, as well as his developing understanding of who he was as an individual within a community. While the transitions seemed to be a bit choppy at times, it reflected the inner and outer lives of the people involved. This book leaves enough space between the words and ideas to allow the reader to enter in a personal and imaginative manner....more info
  • 6 names
    I really did not like this book.
    I did not like this book because it started with people chasing kids.
    misha,stopthef stole a peace of bread.
    Then he got snatch up by a gang of kids who smoke,drank and cuss.
    Then it went to people having to go under the wall just to get food.
    The people that went to get it was a kid called misha,and stopthef.
    he was the one to get snatched up by the gang that smoke,and drank.
    Then it ended with dead people on the sidewalk and the gold angel going to get them.
    I do not recomend to anyone at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..
    ...more info
  • Informative History book
    I enjoyed reading this book because it helped me to understand a little better how things were during WWII in Warsaw, Poland. I also enjoy the author and his other writings. ...more info
  • milkweed
    I read the book Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli with my dad. Milkweed is a holocaust book. In the book, the main character thinks his name is Misha Pilsudski, but he does not know his birth name. He thinks he is a gypsy, but he might be a Jew. That does not matter to the Nazis. To the Nazis, he is dirt, he is vermin, he should not exist, to the Nazis, Misha is a nobody. So his friend Janina, and his friends Oleck, Kuba, Ferdi, Enos, Jon, Big Henrick, and Uri would be too if the Nazis knew that he was a Jew. Uri works on the non-Jewish side of the wall, the wall that splits the regular people from the Jews in the Ghetto. The Ghetto is the side of the wall that isolates the Jews from the outside world.
    Misha faces all the hardships of the Ghetto with Janina. In the Ghetto food is always scarce and Misha has to smuggle food from the other side of the wall, or Olek calls the other side; "Heaven".
    In the Ghetto, Jews steal from other Jews to get money. It is a terrible time. But not as terrible as the twist at the end. There is a great change for all the occupants of the Ghetto. As one [most likely insane] man calls it, they all go to the candy mountain.
    When Jerry Spinelli wrote this book he used a lot of metaphors, and has a suspenseful style, that has you guessing the whole book. He makes you picture every detail in your mind. Although I loved the way he wrote Milkweed, it is the saddest book I have read in the eleven years of my lifetime.
    The message Jerry Spinelli is trying to send in this book is that sunlight always comes through at the end of a storm, even if it is only the tiniest beam....more info
  • "It begs to be read aloud"
    In the last week I have read the book Milkweed and have found it incredibly touching. The Holocaust was a terrible thing that was a large group of people thinking that they are so much betters then another group. During World War II the Nazis, including Hitler, went on rampage killing thousands of Jews all over, even to Poland. Milkweed is about a young 10-year-old boy living in Poland who want to grow up and become a Jackboot, with shiny black boots, and a sliver eagle on his hat, until the day comes when he realizes that it is better to be a nobody. A little while before that day he turns into Misha Pilsudski with a horse named Greta. He lives in a barn with they boys who only get their food by stealing it. Uri, one of the boys, taught him so many things that he needed to know, like to take care of himself. Misha was a little fast, short kid which got him the names stoptheif, Jew, Gypsy, and a fifthly son of Abraham. Misha didn't know much of anything because he had lived on the street for such a long time. So when he was at a friend's party he stole the cake. He thought the candles were going to burn the cake. This is the same family, the Milgroms, were the family he lived with when all the Jews had to leave, "Heaven" and go to the ghetto. He became extremely good friends with the only child, Janina. Janina copies everything Misha does and sometimes that gets her in to a lot of dangerous, and troublesome situations. When the day comes that the Jews were to leave the ghetto and go to the west Janina does what everyone told her not to do. This is a book that you won't be able to stop reading and will make you feel like you are one of the main characters in the book. It begs to be read aloud!

    ...more info
  • Perfect
    Jerry Spinelli does a perfect job portraying the hardships and struggles of the Jewish people during the most unfortunate of times, the Holocaust, in a manner in which younger readers can relate. Appropriate for almost all ages [I wouldn't read it as a bedtime story], this book had me hooked. It entails the struggles of Misha Pilsudski [later Misha Milgrom, and finally Jack Milgrom] through the Nazi invasion of Warszawa [Warsaw] Poland. I recommend anyone looking for a good, quick read to buy this book. I read it for a book report assignment back in 7th, and it was definitly well worth it....more info
  • awesome
    Milkweed still is one of my favorite books. The only contender against it is The Giver, but besides that Milkweed is my all time favorite! It's deep, rich, engaging pages will have you lost before you realize it's just a book! Don't skip this book, you'll really regret it!...more info
  • Milkweed
    Milkweed is a book by Jerry Spinelli. You might not know Jerry Spinelli, but he is a realy good author. Milkweed is a book about the time when the Nazis are taking over. It is about a kid who lost his parents by the age of 3. The kid finds an older kid named Uri. Uri has no parents either. The kid lives with Uri under a barber shop. The kid finds out he is a gypsy instead of a Jew. The kid says he wants to be a Nazi when he grows up. BAD! Uri tries to tell him that he should not want to be a Nazi. The kid becomes a pro stealer. He can steal realy well. I know I am probably aggravating you with this kid stuff. Because I am not going to tell you his name. So read the book to find out.

    ...more info
  • Stunning
    Oh my gosh. This is my favorite book ever, especially because I am very interested in the Holocaust. This is the story of a boy named Misha growing up during the times when Nazis(Jackboots) ruled the streets and treated Jews horrifically. This is a compelling story that will reach out and touch you forever....more info
  • Milkweed
    My expectations for the book were low because I has never heard of it before, however, the book impressed me and definately exceeded my expectations. The biggest strength of the book was the intricate details that helped to portray the miserable life of Uri and Misha. The biggest weakness was that it was confusing at first because it didn't clearly explain who Misha and Uriw were, where they were from, and how the Holocaust affected them. I enjoyed Spinelli's work because it was very detailed and I would definately read other books of his. I have read many Holocaust books throughout my life but what made this one positive was its individual style. It didn't just describe life as a Jew endeavoring horrible conditions at concentration camps, but it also focused on his life not only as a jew but as a gypsy as well. I gained a lot of insight from this novel through Spinelli's detailed and unique writing style. ...more info
  • I belive in the angels
    This book is about a boy that is an orphan and lives on the street stealing food from other people to eat everyday then one day while he was stealing a piece of bread some boy picked him up and started carrying him to this horse stable where there was many other boys that were just like him. All the other boys were Jews but he was not he was a gypsy so all the other boys made fun of him but it was better to be a gypsy in this timer because it was during WWII and had no respect given to them and some of them had to clean the street with there long beards. All the boys usually had a good amount of food to eat because they all stole the food so they were fine. But then one day while the boy Misha Pilsudiski was coming back from stealing food from somewhere at night and he was out past curfew and one of the Jackboots shot his earlobe of then all the other boys made fun of him but through all of this he had one friend his name was Uri and he helped him out with managing the food and having a place to sleep and told him places to hide. Then Misha gets sent to the ghetto because they think he is a Jew and he is walking with this girl that he has met before and her family then they go to one of the houses and lock the door so no one knows there while they are there they are not supplied with any food so Misha steals food for them to eat but after a while the food supply is running low in the ghetto so he sneaks through the wall and steels food for them to eat then one day all the other boys that he had met in the stable so he had someone else that he could live with but Uri did not get captured and he snuck food to them he would not get caught because it turns out he was also a jackboot then the war ends and Misha grows up and has a child then he tells all of his stories to her. This connects to WWII because that is how the Jews were treated during the war...more info
  • Filthy Son of Abramham
    This book is about a boy named Misha that lives on the streets in a town named Warsaw. He steals food from stores and rich people so his friends and him won't die. Misha thinks he is a gypsy, because of the yellow necklace he wears. So one of his friends Uri gave him the name Misha Pilsudski. There are Jackboot soldiers which are nazis, surrounding the streets and treating the jews like dirt. They make the male jews wash the sidewalk with their beards. The nazis also bomb stores to destroy food, so the jews would starve to death. The soldiers also striped a store owner of his clothes and painted his face yellow out of menace. After a while they make all the jews live in a ghetto surrounded by a brick wall. Where they would have roll call and beat the ones that couldn't stand at attention. I would not recomend this book to people that don't like informational books and sad stories. This book has a lot of new things about jewish people during the holocaust that some people like me has never studied before. Surly you will learn a lot about the terible things that happened to the jews during this extended period of thime in history if you read this book. It has a genre of historical fiction, so some of the parts will be false but very educational to the young mind. ...more info
  • Milkweed
    This book, Milkweed, is a historical fiction book that takes place during WWII. The main character is an orphan, and a Gypsy, who doesn't remember anything about his past. He becomes friends with an older man named URI, a Jew, and they stick together. While their time together, they make up the name Misha Pilsudski. During this time, the "Jackboots" come. They are representing the Nazis in WWII. Misha becomes friends with a girl named Janina Milgrom, and becomes `part' of their family. They then get sent to the ghetto where life is tough. Jerry Spinelli, the author, does a wonderful job writing this book, because it seems so realistic, and everything just flows together. It's a great book for teens to read because even though it's a very harsh time, it's still a very well written book. Its time period, and setting makes it such a good book, because its a very devistating time, and lots and lots of people were killed. Very few people survived and you have to read the book to see if Misha survives. ...more info
  • I Was A Smuggler
    I could not resist taking a glimpse at Jerry Spinelli's latest. But at last I rented it. It was purely amazing. I could very much picture I was there, Misha with his kind heart doesn't understand, but soon do, I'd give anything to not know, for not knowing makes you braver than you already are. This book made me realizes some important things in today's world that we should pay more respect to, and I am solely glad that I read this book, of course, by Jerry Spinelli.
    PS: I think it should have won a Newberry....more info
  • Milkweed
    I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys WWII and holocaust books.

    This story is about a boy. A boy who has no name, no family, no home. This boy is taken from place to place ripped from new friends and put into the hands of enemies. Put in jail cells one day, then living in the homes of strangers the next. It's always hard to find food, always a struggle to keep warm. He meets new people, and his told who he is countless times. He is called thief, Gypsy, Jew. He was called Misha. He is called one-eared Jack.

    This book is all about this boy finding who he is. Bad things may happen, but that doesn't change who you are. This boy finally found who he is. After years and years of hurt and pain, hunger and thirst, friends and enemies, he knows who he is. He is... Poppynoodle. ...more info
  • This brought the spotlight out of my eyes
    I had to read it for a history project, but loved it. It took the character of a boy named Misha. He is in a small town in Germany. He has to steal in order to live. He soon meets a boy named Uri. Uri takes care of Misha in the abondaded shops. Soon all the "jews" have to be put in the ghetto. Misha meets a girl there named Janina. Janina and Misha soon escape and go on the train. But Misha had a bad feeling and jumped off. The story the follows the rest of his life in the last two chapters.

    Overall, I loved it. I stayed up until 2:00 AM on a school night reading it. It has overt 45 chapters, but only 213 pages. I would reccomend this book everybody who reads....more info
  • Ghettos, War, Angels, Jackboots, and a Boy named Stopthief.
    Call him whatever you'd like. Everyone else does.

    Stopthief. Jew. Gypsy. Fast. Happy. Runt. Filthy son of Abraham. Misha Pilsudski is the name that Uri, the leader of the street orphans, finally gives him, along with a made-up story about his past and his family history. It's the name that sticks. For a while.

    This orphan boy from Warsaw, U.S.S.R., figures if someone calls him a name, it just might mean that it's true. Take "Fast," a name Uri calls him. If it wasn't true about him, how else would he explain how good he is at stealing bread from women walking on the street? Bread which he faithfully shares half with Doctor Korczak's orphans at the group home. He wouldn't be able to outrun the venders, the police, or the Jackboots. That's his name for the Nazi soldiers that can be seen marching around town. Someday, he'd like to be a Jackboot.

    Then a Jewish girl named Janina from a poor neighborhood befriends him. With Janina, Misha feels he has a real family, a place he can belong. When families all over the city, Jewish families at first, start getting relocated into the walled-off ghettos, Misha moves in with her. Spinelli's sings the despair of the ghettos with a raw and tragic melody of characters. Outside the ghetto walls they call Heaven. Food is rotten and scarce. New bodies lie covered in the streets each day. And angels are everywhere, if you know how to look.

    They call him Stopthief. Catch him if you can.

    --- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens ...more info
  • Wonderful Story
    I'm so glad that I pulled this book out to read, even with the terrible cover art. It makes sense after reading the book, but I doubt it'll be appealing to children. After a slow beginning, the story does pick up and I was eager to find out what happened to Misha. This is an emotional story, complete with all the terrible details of living in the Warsaw ghetto. But, by focusing on the events seen through Misha's eyes, the reader senses an innocence in Misha that is endearing. Knowing the realities of the Holocaust, I really didn't expect a happy ending, but it is a satisfying one.
    ...more info
  • Patrick's review
    I read a great book Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is a strong historical fiction that takes place in Warsaw, Poland and tells the troubles that the Jews had to face during the holocaust.
    It is about a boy with many names, stopthief, Misha Pilsudiski, A filthy son of Abraham, a Jew, and a gypsy. He stays with Misha. He befriends an orphan named Uri who steals to live. Misha also meets the other boys that live with Uri. Along the way he meets Janina who is a Jew who is herded to the ghetto with her family by the Nazi. Soon the boy are captured and thrown in the ghetto where disease and starvation was killing many people every day. Every night Misha and Janina sneak through a hole in the wall that the Nazi built to keep the Jews in and steal food for their family.
    The main problem is when Hitler orders the Nazis to take the Jews away and Janina is caught when they go stealing one night. Misha has to choose to die but save Janina or live and never see her again.
    My favorite part was when Misha hear the story Uri gave him. It is about how his parents were killed and his brothers and sisters were killed in a bomb and he was kidnapped escaped in to Warsaw and met Uri.
    This book is very moving and I would give it five stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action, adventure, and sorrow. You will love this book.
    ...more info
  • Milkweed
    Hi I read milkweed it was very interresting book. It was about
    a boy who dose not know what he is.and i do not whant to be mert the bleart....more info
  • Not Very Good
    I had to read this for a state-wide essay contest and I hated it. I read it four times in order to fully understand it, and each time I read it, it got more and more painful. ...more info
  • Amazing, insightful, chilling
    In this book, the Nazi invasion of Poland is seen through the eyes of a small homeless vagabond of a child, a child who is both too naive to understand properly what is going on around him, yet also more street-smart and much better at surviving the hard life than the adults around him.

    I found this book refreshingly unique, intelligently written, and compelling too - in fact, I found it so impossible to put down that I ended up staying up most of the night to finish it. However, it is a very realistically written book, and none of the harshness of war is sugar-coated, so I would not recommend letting young children read it. Also, kids might need to ask a few background questions about World War 2 so that they can understand fully what the story is about, and they're probably going to need the holocaust and the Nazi death camps explained to them as well...and I myself would definitely not enjoy having to explain that to young children, especially not when it comes to the "But WHY would the Nazis do something so horrible like that?" part. Still, let's just hope that if our future generations learn about this sort of stuff, they can stop anything like it from happening again....more info
  • Milkweed was a Great Book!
    He had been called many things - Jew, stopthief, happy, runt, fast, filthy son of Abraham. He lived on the streets and steals food to survive. He believes in bread, mothers, and angels. He wanted to be a Nazi someday , with tall jackboots and an eagle cap - that is, until the day that suddenly made him change his mind. When the trains came to empty the ghetto, he's a boy who realized it is safest of all to be a nobody.

    A young, swift orphan arrived on the streets of Warsaw with no recollection of his past - not so much as his name. He began living with another orphan in an abandoned barbershop, and together they stole everything they needed. The other orphan, who went by the name Uri, named the nameless child by the name of Misha Pilsudski. Misha and Uri had a decent life - they were never hungry, they hung out with other orphan folk, and Misha even had a rich friend (Janina) - until the day the jackboots came. The men in "jackboots" were actually Nazis, and they came to raid Warsaw. Soon the town was in shambles and they began to round up all the Jews to send to the ghetto. Misha claimed he was a Gypsy (although he had no idea whatsoever what he was), but went to the ghetto anyway because he thought it looked fun. He visited Janina's family many times while the wall was in the process of being built, because he could just step over it. However, once the wall was finished, Uri stayed out while Misha lived there full time. In the ghetto, the conditions rapidly degraded and soon, everyone was starving. Misha found a two-brick hole in the wall he could fit through, so every night he slipped through this miniature escape route and get food for Janina and her family. This system worked pretty well, and soon Janina would even come with him on his adventures. One night, at a hotel in Warsaw where Misha was trying to steal rations, he saw Uri for the first time in a long time, who worked for the Nazis. Uri warned Misha about the plan to send the Jews to the ovens, so he would have a heads up. Sure enough, the next day the soldiers began loading the Jews onto trains to the ovens. Janina's father warned Misha and Janina to get out and stay out, so the two left and ran towards the countryside. Janina, who was in an unstable mental state after the two years or so in the ghetto, ran away. Misha tried to follow her, but a farmer stopped him. The farmer kept Misha for three years, and at night, they would have to tie him up so he would not run away to the ovens, where he desperately wanted to see his friend. Then the war ended, and Misha came to America, where he married and then divorced. Misha kept a quiet life and did not meet his daughter, Katherine, until she had a child of her own. Katherine left her daughter Wendy's middle name blank for Misha to name. He chose Janina.

    Milkweed was an excellent story. It had happiness, but some sad parts too. In addition, it's filled with historical references, even though it was a fictional book.

    A few examples of happiness in Milkweed include the time when Misha has to play on the carousel, when Janina gave Misha a piece of his favorite candy, and when Misha saw Uri again. One time, before the jackboots came, a carousel with beautiful painted horses was built in Warsaw. Uri advised Misha to stay away, as "street filth" such as Misha was unwanted at places like that. However, one day, the temptation was just too much for Misha, so after hours (they kept the carousel running all the time) he climbed on and had the time of his life. Another example of happiness included the time when Janina snuck out of the ghetto using the petite hole in the wall and looked all over town for buttermilk creams with hazelnut hearts, Misha's favorite candy. She came back and gave a single piece to him, as that was all she could find, and Misha was delighted to taste that luscious candy after eating ghetto food for so long. The last good example of happiness was when Misha saw Uri in the fancy hotel. Misha ran up to him and asked if it was really Uri, with joy glittering in his eyes. Uri was not as happy as Misha was - he could have gotten in serious trouble if caught talking to him. Misha was even happier later when Uri's tip about the ovens saved his life.

    Milkweed had its fair share of sadness, however. The saddest part was when Janina ran towards the ovens and Misha never saw him again. In fact, he wanted to see her so badly that the farmers he stayed with tied him to the barn every night for three years to prevent him from running to find her. Another sad part was when Misha's wife in America, Vivian, divorced him after a few short months because he was going crazy. The last significant sad part of the story was when Misha had to say goodbye to Janina's father before running away from the ghetto and the ovens.

    Although Milkweed is a fictional book, it still has many examples of history tied into it. The whole time era was World War II, when the Nazis tried to win power and superiority. The book specifically mentioned the times when the Nazis marched into Poland and the bombing of Warsaw. Another historical reference were the Jewish ghettos, which were not uncommon in Europe at the time. The last major historical reference were the ovens where everyone in the ghetto was sent to die, which were a fixture in death camps at the time.

    Milkweed was a really well written book and is perfect for anyone who like to read but does not mind a little grief. It had happiness, but there was some sadness as well, and it even mentioned some major points of history.

    -Elizabeth H =]...more info
  • Milkweed from a teen's perspective
    This book deals with a boy who has to deal with the time and events of the Jewish past. The main character (Misha or Stopthief) has to learn what's really happening in the present time and how to survive it. The incidents of the past might confuse him on what was really happening and what's in the world. But luckily he doesn't have to do it on his own. Throughout his adventure he'll get help from his friends Uri and Janina. Maybe all together they can crack the code which is his past.

    Reading this book thousands of emotions might come through you and might change throughout the book. Just reading the first couple of pages will make you think and ask questions about the story. And also the first couple of pages will get you through a tough roller coaster which is a story of life and the past.

    Warning: lead character may piss you off!!;]...more info
  • Milkweed
    The mischevious little boy, Stipthief, lives in a small town in Warsaw, Poland.No one knows his exact age, but he is said to be around eight years old.He is an orphanso he is forced to steal food because he has no money.
    Stopthief encounters many interesting events alonghis hard journey in the ghetto. He also meets manynew friends along the way. He forms some great relationships with people, and unfortunately some of them are lost.
    Milkweed is a sad, yet uplifting book, and I encourage everyone to read it. Throughout this story, you also have tho opportunity to learn some true facts about things that happened in the past. Some people can relate to the story. Ecspecially if they had a hard time in their life with something similar to what happens to the characters in the book. This story helps to encourage you that you should never give up even when you get discouraged. The characters in this story still had a good time even when they were in a very hard stressful situation.I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to read this book....more info
  • What bookworm said...
    Up until Janina being taken by the Nazis, this book was a page turner, albeit with a few undeveloped themes (a 9 year old might have had a stronger reaction to being discriminated against, "Misha" might have tried harder to remember his real past rather than clinging to the one Uri fabricated, etc).

    I agree that the last few chapters of the book were rushed and didn't seem to flow with the rest of the story. Misha becomes a very flat character. His slip into semi-insanity is poorly developed, and the way his mental health issues are resolved instantly after meeting his daughter is unrealistic. Milkweed would be a fantastic opportunity to introduce the concept of PTSD to children a little better, but misses the mark.

    Had Spinelli written a different ending, this book would have had 4 or 5 stars....more info
  • Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

    This is a great book. The way Jerry Spinelli developes the character, Misha Piludski, and makes it so that you really get a feel of what it was like to be Jewish during the Holocaust. This book is one of the best books i have ever read. It leads you through the story of a boy that with a little help will make it a long way. And learn to make with what he has. To be smart. And to care for others. Overall this is a great book for people looking for a page turner. The plot and the characters are so great that anyone who like historical fiction will like this book. You have to read this book!...more info
  • superbook!
    Milkweed was the best! I didn't really like it for any particular reason. it was just a great book. It was very exciting! Milkweed was cool because it felt like I was in the book itself! If you don't like books that are sad, then I suggest that you don't read this book. Milkweed is a book about a boy who lives on the streets. He spends his days stealing food because that's the only way he could get it. He is an orphan and he doesn't have a name, but his friend gives him one. Misha. It was one of the best books I ever read!...more info
  • Fly away like Milkweed
    A young orphan without a name was found by Uri his new best friend. They were in Warsaw, Germany during the Holocaust. Uri had made up the orphan's life and his name became Misha. He stole from the people walking down the street. Later all Jews and gypsies were sent to the ghetto.They lived in the ghetto for a while. Misha lived with Janina, who he called his sister. Each night they would sneak out a two-brick hole in the wall. When the trains started coming for the people Janina and Misha left. Janina didn't want to leave so she came back and was thrown into a train. Misha tryed to go after her, but Uri shot Misha and threw him out of the train. While walking along a farmer found him and misha worked for the farmer for three years. When he finally ran away from the farmer the war was over. Misha moved to America and got married. His name was also changed to Jack. His wife left him after she became pregnant. Jack later found his daughter and granddaughter. ...more info
  • good book

    tom c.
    This is a story from the Holocaust. Spinelli has been able to do something quite remarkable in this novel. We read the book knowing that it was a harsh, racist, hateful society. These events let us know all this information of the Nazi invasion yet we see the events through the eyes of a young boy.

    The only name he knows to call himself is Stopthief because he survives by stealing stuff. He is a child totally alone. He is given the name Misha by another boy who befriends and protects him. Misha's family becomes a group of homeless orphan boys scratching out a life on the streets of Warsaw; barely surviving.

    Misha is totally innocent and ignorant, so he only lives in the present. As we read of the Nazi invasion we know the horrors ahead. Misha, however, sees the "Jackboots" as something wonderful; he perceives their mocking salutes as a mark of respect. Their parade entering the city is a marvel to him. Events he witnesses lead him to slowly understand that being a Jew is dangerous. Behind the walls of the Warsaw ghetto, his kind heart and small size allow him to sneak out and smuggle food back in for his friends. The reader fears for Misha though he feels no fear for himself or others.

    My favorite part of this book part is when Micha meets Janina his "sister" who is very talkative, and whiny. I like this part because it reminds me of me because I have ADHD, and so I talk a lot just like Janina.

    Spinelli allows the reader to hear, see and feel the cruelness of the Holocaust. This is a book that everyone should read. This story is important and compelling because it gets you hooked in minutes and very into the book. I would give the book five stars but reread it a second time it helps a lot, to understand the events. Also I think it is good because Jerry Spinelli is taking us into the book, it feels as if you were there.

    ...more info
  • Milkweed
    I love reading Jerry Spinelli's books, but resisted reading Milkweed, because of the subject matter. The holocaust and the atrocities that were inflicted on the Jewish people were so horrendous that I hesitated, not wanting to be depressed. The book sat at my bedside for months, before I finally picked it up to read. What was I thinking? This was Jerry Spinelli and he didn't let me down. The book opens with an orphan who finds himself in Warsaw Germany trying to stay alive amongst the chaos on the streets of 1939. They call him "Stop! Thief!", "Gypsy", "Filthy son of Abraham". Orphaned too young to remember his real name, a friend names him, Misha. The first eleven pages paint a vidid picture of Misha running, darting around the soldiers and slipping between the jackboots. I found myself rushing and dashing through the pages the same way Misha was doing in the book. Milkweed is not a depressing book, in fact it is very uplifting. Of course, you see and live the torturous times and share a tear or two with the characters, but you experience how even in the worst of times, glimmers of happiness shine through; thus the title for the book. Even with hope waning, despair everywhere, a milkweed grows through a crack in the dirty street, symbolizing how the human spirit endures. What I love about all of Jerry's books is how he blends the problems (usually a boy) his protagonist faces with the impish thoughts and feelings of every boy in his characters. "Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of," and Jerry never misses that aspect in his characters. Even while writing about this dark subject, the things we love about little boys show through. This book won the Golden Kite Award and is a great book to help children learn about that grim period of time, while inspiring them to read. - Reviewer for The Best Book Bin...more info
    I really loved this book up until the ending because I really wanted to know what had happened to Lanina and father, but of course they probably died. Spinelli did a wonderful job of making a story out of the holocast. This book was way better than The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This was my very first Spinelli book and I look forward to reading some of his other books in the future....more info
  • Milkweed Review by Drake
    "Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is a book about an 8 year old boy named Misha. He lives in a ghetto in Warsaw, Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. He is a gypsy which means he has no permanant home. His parents were killed by the Nazi's. Misha smuggles food for kids in the orphange where he lives. Uri is an orange haired man who owns a barber shop and helps Misha learn to survive the harsh streets in war time. Jana is a little girl about 4 or 5 years old who becomes friends with Misha while also on the streets trying to survive. Jana has an Uncle Shepard who is too old to get food himself. Misha and Jana help him by providing him with smuggled food.

    The story begins when Misha's parents are killed by the Nazi's during the Holocaust. Misha, without any family left, goes to live in an orphanage in the ghetto of Warsaw. With his friend Jana, Misha smuggles food that he steals from stores into the orphanage for the other children. Jana is eventually taken to a concentration camp where she is killed. Misha runs away from the orphanage to live on a farm to escape the same fate. Several year later the war ends and Misha decides to leave Poland for America. He trys his hand at selling various things with little success. Misha eventually marries and has a daughter. After six months the marriage fails.

    The story takes place in the ghettos of Warsaw, Poland and New York City.

    The theme of the story is about an orphan who lives through World War II and the Holocaust who finds his freedom in America.

    Milkweed is the best Jerry Spinelli book that I have read. The book moved very well with a few slow spots in the middle. I thought the highlight of the book was when Misha escaped to America to a life of opportunity and freedom. I felt a huge wave of relief knowing that the worst was behind him. Even though Misha was not as successful in America as I had hoped, it was so much better than the ghettos of Warsaw in one of the most awful times in history. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who reads Jerry Spinelli's works....more info
  • Mr. Steven's Honors U.S. History Book Report Review
    Milkweed is the story of a young boy who lives on the streets of Warsaw and has no name, family or background. He goes by many names, such as Jew, Gypsy, Stopthief, or even a filthy son of Abraham. This boy does everything he can to survive, whether it be stealing food, sleeping in the streets, and living a fast paced life so that he doesn't get caught. Each night he sleeps in a cellar with many boys just like him and he hides from the Jackboots, or the Nazis. In Warsaw, Polland during the year 1939, the Jackboots were in control. The little boy along with his friends are inferior compared to the strong and powerful Jackboots, so the best thing that they can do is stay invisible. Later on in the story, the boy finds his real name is Mischa and that he was a gypsy with his family until his home and family was bombed by the Jackboots. Mischa finds out all of this information from his dear friend Uri, the leader of his street gang. When Mischa sees a familiar person led into a Warsaw ghetto with her family, he follows her and thus embarks on a wonderful journey.

    This book is a great example of how the individual changes the times. Obviously, as World War One is around the corner, the time period set in this novel is very rough. It is set right in the middle of the Holocaust and millions of minority groups are being severely mistreated. In Warsaw, Mischa follows a girl named Janina Milgrom and her family as they are led into a ghetto and proceeds to help their family. He smuggles food for people in the ghettos and tries to help Janina escape when her family is relocated to concentration camps. Although the time period of the book is sad and depressing, Mischa is optimistic and embraces the happiness in life. For example, Mischa takes the hard-boiled egg as a miracle while Janina is only happy for the food. He shapes the times by taking the bad things in life and turning them into good, just by his perspective. ...more info
  • A Shot A of History
    By Jerry Spinelli
    Published by Knopf
    224 pages

    Over ten million people were killed in World War Two. Over ten million! Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli tells the story of one boy who survived. It tells of an orphan living in The Warsaw ghetto in Poland. It tells of his hopes, dreams, and goals. It tells of angels, mothers, and oranges. I was pulled into this book. Here's why.

    First, it had action. The boy in the story, Misha, must smuggle food past The Nazis at The risk of death. At one point in the story, he even gets shot! This book is full of action that will keep you on the edge of your seat! You won't be able to put the book down!

    Second, I could relate to the characters. Misha and The gang of boys he hangs out with were about my age. They seemed to be like me. I could almost feel their sadness in the pages. I felt what they felt and it seemed like I almost saw what they saw.
    Speaking of how I could relate to the characters, I'd like to talk about how this book connected to my life. It made me think about what I would do if I were an orphan. What would I do if I had to find food to support myself and others at The risk of dying if I were caught? Or what would happen to me if I were faced with their circumstances?

    Third, this book was full of history. The Warsaw ghetto was a real place in Poland. It was used to contain people of The Jewish faith in the nineteen-forties. It was smelly, cheap, and horrible. Many of The details about the war in the book are facts. Reading this book was history coming to life!

    Milkweed was great because it held my interest and made me think. It made me think about what happened during World War Two. It made me think about all the suffering The Nazis caused. Also, there was great detail. I could hear and see everything. I could hear the gun shots echoing through the alleys. I could see The Jewish people trudging into the ghetto. I could smell the rotten scent of raw rats being sold in a marketplace. I was almost there!

    I would recommend Milkweed to anyone age eleven and up. Any one under eleven might not understand the book's depth. Fans of Number the Stars will like this book. Although it was written for children adults will enjoy Milkweed too. My mother read it and called it a "masterpiece." Gender doesn't matter either. Both boys and girls will like reading this book. It's a book with a little something for everyone!

    Did you know that World War Two veterans are dying at a rate of one thousand two hundred a day? All of their memories of the war are being lost. That's why it's important to remember what happened in the worst genocide in history. That's why it's important to listen and learn from those events. That's why you should read Milkweed.
    ...more info
  • Drake's Milkweed Review
    "Milkweed" by Jerry Spinelli is a book about a boy named Misha. Misha is a boy about 8 years old. He lives in a ghetto in Warsaw, Poland. He is a gypsy which means he has no permanant home. His parents are dead. He smuggles food to eat. Uri is an oranged haired man who is best friends with Misha. Uri owns a barber shop and gives Misha free haircuts. Jana is a little girl who helps Misha smuggle food to an orphanage. Uncle Shepard is Jana's uncle. Misha and Jana smuggle food for Uncle Shepard.

    The story starts when Misha's parents are killed by the Nazi's. Misha goes to a place where other orphans live in the ghetto. He smuggles food and other items into the orpanage. Misha also smuggles food for his friend Jana and her Uncle Shepard. Misha's friends are taken to the ovens. He runs away to a farm until the war ends. After the war he leaves the farm for America. He becomes a salesman, gets married and has daughter. After a short marriage he divorces. Eventually Misha becomes a grandfather.

    The story takes place in the ghettos of Warsaw, Poland and then America.

    The theme of the story is an orphan who lives through the war to become a free man in the United States.

    I found the story interesting, but sad. Misha's struggles and his quest for freedom made me feel fortunate for what I have today....more info
  • Life in th Ghetto
    Milkweed is an exciting book about a young boy named Misha, during the holocaust. He doesn't know if he has any remaining family or not, but when the Jackboots (Nazi soldiers) come to their town, His friend Uri must make him up a life story so the Jackboots won't get suspicious. Misha wants to be a soldier. He loves the "parades" they put on and their funny hats, but most of all, he loves their tall, shiny, black boots. They go up to the men's knees and Misha has never seen any thing quite like them before. He tells them that he is a gypsy, for that is what Uri said to tell anyone who asks. Then Misha discovers they aren't the men he thought they were. They are mean to Jews and one day, they force him, even though he tells them he is a gypsy, and all of the Jews into a place everyone keeps calling the Ghetto. Misha was excited to go, but when he got there he changed his mind. It was a dry desolate place that was blocked off by tall walls. One day while he was walking around he discovered a small water hole in the wall. That night he went back and tried to get through the tiny space... he succeeded! Every night he would sneak out into heaven (the place beyond the wall) and steal food. It was getting harder and harder though to find food, and life, because since it was WWII, it was getting bombed. Misha must find out how to live in this horrible, dead place.

    ...more info
  • Magnificent Book!!
    He's a boy who has lived on the streets of Warsaw, Poland as long as he can remember. He doesn't remember any name, other than Stopthief, he has no parents, no home. But he's small and quick, so he manages to find enough to eat, and places to sleep, until the Nazis come. By then he has a name, Misha, given to him by another street boy. He has also befriended a girl, Janina, who has a family. So when Janina's family is herded into the newly created Jewish ghetto, Misha goes with them. He is able to slip in and out of the ghetto at will, so he brings food for Janina's family. But even for a survivor like Misha, conditions soon become unbearable. Misha must decide if he belongs in our out of the ghetto.
    I believe Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli is a magnificent book that shows you a whole new perspective of life in Ghettos. I would recommend this book to anybody who is a teenager or older, and is interested on a different perspective of life in the ghettos. There was nothing questionable or controversial in the book....more info
  • Departure from typical Spinelli a Must Read
    Milkweed is a departure from Spinelli's usual works. Unlike his other, more fanciful novels, Milkweed seriously examines issues during the Holocaust through the eyes of a child. As a teacher, I would not recommend this book for students younger than high school for several reasons. First, it requires readers to have a significant amount of prior knowledge about the holocaust. Second, it is intense to read, with an ending that might be difficult to comprehend by less mature middle schoolers. Finally, it requires the reader to make quite a few inferences concerning difficult moral issues.

    More mature readers will gain new insights into a tragic period in human history. I definitely think this is one of the best books Spinelli has written--just not for kids. It is one of the few books for teens that I have read that I can honestly say has changed me. The ending, in particular, rings true to life....more info
  • Horrible Ending
    Honestly I'm a huge fan of Jerry Spinelli's and my friend had been trying to get me to read Milkweed for 2 yrs. so I bought the book. I enjoyed it very much to see what it was like for a gypsy in this time period instead of a Jew, but really in my opinion you could tell the ending was rushed and I hated that he made Misha look like a complete crazy person at the end of the book. Even though this was not my favorite book I still highly recommend it. ...more info
  • Milkweed
    The mischevious little boy, Stopthief, lives in a small town in Warsaw, Poland.No one knows his exact age, but he is said to be around eight years old.He is an orphan,and he is forced to steal food because he has no money.
    Stopthief encounters many interesting events along this hard journey in the ghetto. He also meets many new friends along the way. He forms some great relationships with people, and unfortunately some of them are lost.
    Milkweed is a sad, yet uplifting book, and I encourage everyone to read it. Throughout this story, you also have tho opportunity to learn some true facts about things that happened in the past. Some people can relate to the story. Ecspecially if they had a hard time in their life with something similar to what happens to the characters in the book. This story helps to encourage you that you should never give up even when you get discouraged. The characters in this story still had a good time even when they were in a very hard stressful situation.I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to read this book....more info
  • The Best book made EVER!
    his book is probably... the best book Jerry Spinalli has ever MADE! The boy in the story, Misha, Has been through a lot and I mean A LOT! The poor boy has to live with boys that smoke and call him a nasty son of abraham and jew, nasty Jew, dirty, rotten, nasty, smelly JEW.The poor kid has to fend for him self and his is only about 12-14 years old!!! That is tough for a kid for his age and Jerry Spinelli is making a great atmosphere for the readers and bringing out how nasty and Dirty the city of warsaw is. This is the best book to lose your self and just get a great picture of what this kid has to go through and what it would be like to be in this kids shoes. Jerry Spinelli does a great job of making the reader goes lose themselves in one of the greatest book that Jerry Has ever Made!...more info
  • Milkweed
    Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli, is book is the best book I have read all year. When I sat down to read milkweed I thought it was going to be another boring WWII story . Man was I wrong. Within the first 30 pages I realized Spinelli's book was going to be different. Milkweed tells the life of a young Gypsy boy, Misha, who is taken in by a Jewish family and lives with them in the ghetto created for them by the Nazis. As the story progresses Misha grows older and more knowledgeable of the world around him. He learns that the Nazis don't like him, that the people under the news paper are NOT sleeping, and that Mothers, Angels, and Oranges really do exist. The story of the life of Jewish people living during WWII are not uncommon, but none have captured it quite like Milkweed has. Having grown up as an orphan, Misha is ignorant to the world, but that is one of his wonderful qualities. When he learned what "Happy" was, during Hanukah, He tried to fill Janina's with the "Happy" that he had. My favorite part of Milkweed was when anyone would ever call Misha Jewish, he would turn around and angrily shout, " I'M NOT JEWISH! I'M A GYPSY!". In the end , After he was adopted by the Milgroms, when someone called him Jewish he just ran. At the end of the book, after WWII had ended, it told how Misha moved to America, was named Jack, and married and met his great granddaughter , Janina.
    I believe anyone who is looking for a good read should read Milkweed, its like a Butter Milk chocolate in a box of chocolates.

    Rose M....more info
  • Milkweed By Jerry Spinelli
    Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli it is a very good book and I enjoyed it a lot. I love books about the Jews in World War II because it is so interesting. Milkweed is about a little boy who does not know his name. He's called Jew, Gypsy, Stopthief, Runt, Happy, Fast, Misha, and Jack. People just tell him what he should be called. He is an orphan who survives by taking food from people and the markets. One day while he was running a guy named Uri caught him. Uri took him to his buddies that lived in a barn. They were smugglers and would take food from people and markets too. The war started to begin and they were taking all the Jews to the ghetto. All of his friends were Jews and were going to be sent to the ghetto. They tried to hide but the Germans caught and sent them to the ghetto. The Nazi's built a wall around the ghetto and so no one can get out. There is no food to eat, no money, and people are dying from starvation and illnesses.
    I really enjoyed this book and did not want it to end. This book made me feel like I was a Jew, and I was going through all of the things that they went through. Like your right by their side watching loved ones die and I couldn't anything about it. It is a really a good book and if you read it I hope you will think the same.
    ...more info
  • Very inspiring...
    I didn't like to read books...i loved buying them and storing them in my room... Well not anymore. This book inspired me to give the books a chance. It is very sad and happy, both at the same time. It gave me some strength to be able to read thicker books. Thank you, Jerry Spinelli for this book. I admire you....more info
  • really excellent!
    I don't really read holocaust books because they are just too sad, but I decided to give this one ago because of the great reviews I'd heard.

    It's about a young boy who doesn't know his own age and assumes that his name is "Stopthief". You follow him as he tells the story of the Holocaust through his own innocent eyes and you see the changes that he and the people he love go through. The majority of the book is not set in the concentration camps, but in the ghetto and the time before that, as the persecution began.

    It is written in a very simple style which gives a voice to Misha (previously "Stopthief") as he realizes and doesn't realize what is happening around him.

    The simple style means that horrible events can happen mostly without sentiment but very clearly and matter of factly. Misha himself is not particularly upset by dead bodies being slung onto carts, although the reader might be, but because of Misha's voice and the short chapters your attention is pulled elsewhere before the meaning really has a chance to sink in. I think this really helped show the innocence of the young boy and also make the book a lot easier to read and to take. I wouldn't recommend it to children much under 11 though because some parts, such as a man who particularly likes suffocating kids, are a bit gruesome and nasty for younger readers.

    Although I really didn't expect to actually enjoy a book about the Holocaust, Milkweed is completely compelling and is worth reading just for the loving little boy with a changeable name who can't keep still.

    It maybe sad in parts but I think it's worth it.
    ...more info