By: Jerry Spinelli


This 8 year old boy name Misha gets caught in the Nazi German occupied city of Warsaw. He is forced into a ghetto and lives there for over 2 years. In these years of living in the ghetto he becomes friends with a girl name Janina and her father accepts him as family. He is able to survive because he is so small and can fit through little water drainage holes through the walls. Once he gets out of the ghetto he is free yet he continues to come back with stolen food to feed his new family. After the Soviet Union started to win the war Germans ordered the Jewish to be executed at Stawki Station where the gas chambers were. One night when Misha and Janina went out looking for food they came back to the drainage holes plugged. Janina was caught and Misha was left in a ditch for dead...


The theme of Milkweed is to never give up. Misha had survived for over 5 years during the war. He was determined and believed he was never going to be stopped. He had many friends and little family to look up to. He was never ashamed to be given a name that wasn't even his, called stupid, being a Gypsy. He was so determined to keep his new family alive. He kept them fed and never let anything get in his way.


During WWII the Germans made places called ghettos. They were a certain area designated to Jewish people. The biggest one was the Warsaw ghetto. It housed 400,000 Jews. It had 1.3 square miles of Warsaw. The Germans had also built a over 10 ft. high wall. All around the whole ghetto. It was a filthy place and there was no way out accept the front gate which was heavily guarded. Kids starved to death and were left of the streets covered in news papers. Over 80% of the food that people ate in the ghetto was smuggled through the sewers. It was a terrible place.



I think my author portrayed the ghetto to extreme detail. It was perfectly put in the story and with great timing. Things were good to the finest detail. She even had showed things that were graphic and sad. It clearly shows she knew what she was writing about.