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The Wheeler Centre

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Write of Passage: Growing Up with Morris Gleitzman

September 2nd, 2015

Episode 838 of 903 episodes

When it comes to writing stories for children and young adults, is anything off limits? For the past decade, in theOnceseries,bestselling children’s author Morris Gleitzman has been telling the story of Felix, a Jewish boy struggling to survive during the Holocaust. Gleitzman’s novels in this series – the latest of which,Soon, explores the aftermath of World War II – are rightly celebrated for their deftness of touch and emotional authenticity, and for the author’s ability to avoid trivialising the perspectives of the young. FromOnceto books like Lois Lowry’sNumber the Starsand Marcus Zusak’sThe Book Thief, there have been a number of coming-of-age stories set during wartime aimed at children or young adult audiences. How are stories of war best represented to younger readers, and what is it about these classic coming-of-age novels – in which characters arrive at maturity often too early or all at once – that continues to fascinate and resonate? Gleitzman is joined byhistorian and writer Jordy Silverstein fora discussion that will appeal to readers of all ages,covering his powerful series and his reflections on the process of writing grown-up stories for children.

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