Two of our book clubbers are enjoying John Boyne’s The Boy at the Top of the Mountain. A young orphan born to German and French parents finds himself in the lucky position of being adopted by his aunt and taken to a very smart residence up in the German mountains. It is the early days of the war and the Jewish friend he leaves behind is on the other side of fortune. The longer Pierrot stays there and the more time he spends with some of the residents, we see a change in him, not necessarily for the better ….
Here is a website which gave us some great pictures of what the Berghof looked like in Hitler’s day. He appeared to love having children to visit. One child was particularly lucky because after a couple of visits it was discovered that the girl had Jewish grandparents. She was surprisingly allowed to continue visiting.
Here is a clip of the author John Boyne reading an extract from his book.
We also heard a lot from Isabel about the Morris Gleitzman series she is reading, starting with Once. She is hoping to finish Then so she can start on After. Everyone in the group wants to read this series! On Morris Gleitzman’s website, he explains the inspiration behind his work – have a look. He looked at many true stories in order to make his books more accurate and realistic – this page from the Holocaust Memorial Museum website offers many true stories of children who were on the run or on the march in Nazi occupied Europe. Their stories are truly touching and inspirational. This photo shows Sacher Israeler, he was 8 when his nightmare began and is an example of a young man determined to survive.
In a final explanation – Now is set in more recent times and features Felix as an old man living in Australia with his granddaughter. Once, Then, After and Soon feature Felix as a Jewish orphan and these books follow on from each other.