Watch the video to hear more from Morris Gleitzman about Soon, Felix’s story so far, and the unexpected reaction to the series in Germany.
Soon is out now in NZ from Penguin Random House
Morris Gleitzman’s Once , and the sequels Then, Now and After, are some of my favourite books. As soon as I started reading Felix’s story I felt like he was my best friend and I wanted everything to work out for him. If you haven’t read this brilliant series yet (you really should) it’s about Felix, a boy growing up in Poland during World War Two. His story is heartbreaking and harrowing and Morris Gleitzman really tugs on your heartstrings. I wrote a post back in 2013 about the books that hold a special place in my heart and these books certainly do.
I heard Morris Gleitzman talk at the Auckland Writers Festival about Felix and his story. Morris told us that he’s not ready to let Felix go yet (which I can totally understand) and that he has 7 books planned in this sequence. That means we still have 3 books to look forward to about Felix. The next book in the sequence is Soon, coming this month from Penguin Random House. Here is the blurb:
I hoped the war would be over.
And it was.
I hoped we would be safe.
But we aren’t.
Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.
I can’t wait to read Soon to find out what happens to Felix next!
What are your thoughts on the series? Have you read them?
Unleashing YA – Gayle Forman, Morris Gleitzman and Keith Gray on adult encroachment in YA
This was the final session of Reading Matters 2013, but it ended with a bang. I didn’t take many notes from this session as I was wrapped up in the discussion and being thoroughly entertained by these wonderful authors. Morris started it off with a laugh by introducing himself and Keith as members of the ‘Bald, Bespectacled and Sexy Club’ and that he was there under false pretences, he isn’t and never will be a ‘Young Adult author.’ Adele asked the question ‘Who does YA belong to?’ and Maurice immediately replied with ‘nobody and everybody.’
Keith believes that males are under-represented in YA fiction. Publishers, editors, agents and librarians are mainly females. He mentioned that that a press release for the Carnegie Medal once highlighted having a male on the judging panel. Keith writes for boys, ‘I hope I don’t alienate women but the 13 to 14 year-old boy is my ideal reader.’ Gayle pointed out that ‘there is acceptability for girl readers to enter a boy book’ but would Harry Potter have been the same with Hermione as the main character?
Both Maurice and Gayle commented on how great the blogging community is. Gayle noted that the ‘incredible conversation going on amongst young people about the books they love,’ and Maurice talked about how a UK blogger helped an author’s book to sell overseas rights.
Each of the authors were asked ‘why do you love YA?’ Keith said it’s because he thinks teenagers are ‘fascinating creatures’ who read books to ‘challenge and argue.’
When asked ‘where else does the needle of discussion need to move to?’ Keith said that he wants to see YA authors mixing with adult authors on panels. He also wants acceptance of children’s and YA authors, ‘we’re still talking about the human condition and we’re writing books to the best of our ability.’ Morris wants that needle and dial taken away completely and stop worrying about what kids are reading.
I read a lot of books. Some of them I forget about almost straight away, but others stick with me long after I’ve turned the last page. There are only a handful, however, that have a lasting effect on me and hold a special place in my heart.
Some books feel as if they’ve been written just for you, like my favourite children’s book, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. As soon as I started reading it I knew that I would love it, and the more I read it, the more I felt like Cornelia had written it just for me. She felt exactly the same about books and stories as I did and it was like she had put the thoughts and feelings inside my head down on paper. I can’t tell you what I was doing or where I was at the time I first read it because I was completely caught up in the story and didn’t want it to end. My favourite adult book, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, also had this effect on me. I’m going to meet him at the Auckland Writer’s Festival in a couple of weeks and I think I’ll probably die of excitement just listening to him talk.
Some books unsettle you and creep in to your head so that you can’t stop thinking about them. Alex Shearer’s The Speed of the Dark was one of those books for me. I can’t remember much about the story (I will have to reread this again soon) but the sense of mystery and feeling of unease I got while reading has stuck with me for many years.
Some books just wrench your heart out, by putting you in to the head of a character that faces some horrific situations. I’ve just finished reading Morris Gleitzman’s books about Felix, Once, Then, Now and After. These were books that I had been meaning to read for a while but hadn’t got around to reading. Last year one of my best friends, who is a school librarian, told me I had to read Once. I did and I’m incredibly grateful to her for making me do so, as this book (and it’s sequels) had a huge impact on me. Morris Gleitzman is a very talented storyteller, who can write incredibly funny stories as well as incredibly sad and moving stories. Morris’ stories of Felix’s fight for survival in Poland during World War II are heartbreaking and I know that I will always carry these stories in my head and my heart. Once, Then, Now and After are stories that everyone should read. I’ll be meeting Morris Gleitzman at the Reading Matters Conference in Melbourne next month and I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be telling him how much I love these books.
What books hold a special place in your heart?
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