The story of 'Once' came from my imagination.
From 1939 until 1945 the world was at war, and the leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler, tried to destroy the Jewish people in Europe. His followers, the Nazis, and those who supported them, murdered six million Jews including one and a half million children. They also killed a lot of other people, many of whom offered shelter to the Jews. We call this time of killing the Holocaust.
My grandfather was a Jew from Krakow in Poland. He left there long before that time, but his extended family didn’t and most of them perished.
Ten years ago I read a book about Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor and children’s author who devoted his life to caring for young people. Over many years he helped run an orphanage for two hundred Jewish children. In 1942, when the Nazis murdered these orphans, Janusz Korczak was offered his freedom but chose to die with the children rather than abandon them.
Janusz Korczak became my hero. His story sowed a seed in my imagination.
On the way to writing Once I read many real life stories – diaries, letters, notes and memories of people who were young at the time of the Holocaust. Most of these young people died, but their stories survived. - Morris Gleitzman
Read the first 4 chapters: Then think about and discuss with a partner these questions, the questions relate to AF2 on the grid at the top, can you work out which skills you are covering?
1.Who is the narrator and how can you tell?
2. Pg 4 “sent the carrot up here…to surprise me” Why has Felix got the idea that his parents are coming to get him – why does he think the carrot is a sign? What do you think of his deduction?
3. Why would a Jewish boy be in a catholic orphanage? Who is/are the key character(s) so far in the book? Discuss how having only 1 main character can make a story stronger.
TASK AF 3-
Independently read chapter 5 pg 38 – 48 - If you could
interview one of the characters so far what questions would
you ask? Write a list of 5 probing questions to find out more
about each character – make sure they relate to what you have
read so far.
Add your questions to this padlet wall
Which skill in AF3 do you think you have used in this activity?
Pg 20 where it reveals the men are Nazi’s – what
evidence is there that these men were not from Head
office or librarians as Felix thought but in fact Nazi’s –
link back to the arm bands / behaviour etc
Bottom of Pg21 what might Felix have been thinking?
Bottom Pg23 why was leaving Dodie the books a good way
of saying goodbye?
Pg 24 look at Felix’s letter – what style is it written in?
Pg 25 / 26 Why is Jankiel concerned about Felix running
away? What message is he trying to give Felix & what
might he “really regret”? - where in the text does it
imply what Jankiel is thinking & feeling?
Discuss these questions here