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Nicole Benjou Midterm Project Literature Circles Extension Fall 2006

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1 Nicole Benjou Midterm Project Literature Circles Extension Fall 2006
The ABC’s of Milkweed Nicole Benjou Midterm Project Literature Circles Extension Fall 2006

2 Milkweed By Jerry Spinelli

3 A is for Armband I was about to open the door when Mr. Milgrom said, “No, wait.” Slumped against one wall was a large, stuffed cloth bag embroidered in black and green designs. Mr. Milgrom reached into the bag and pulled out a blue-and-white armband. He slipped it over my coat sleeve onto my right arm. “I got this for you,” he said. (page 94-95)

4 B is for Buttercream We ate candy all day long. My favorite was buttercream with a hazelnut inside. There was usually only one to a candy box and often not even that, and I was not good at telling them on sight. So I broke open chocolates by the hundreds, searching for my prize. (page 25)

5 C is for Cow The cow had become something to believe in or not to believe in. Like angels. Mothers. Oranges. How could something as large as a cow live in the ghetto and not be seen? How could it survive? What would it eat? Rubble dust? (page 115)

6 D is for Dr. Korczak I loved his goatee even more than his mustache. It was so soft and white. I wanted to rub my face in it. I wanted to climb inside it and live there and peek out. I think he wanted me to be an orphan very badly. I hated to disappoint him. (page 54)

7 E is for Enemy I thought: This is what the enemy does. He flies overhead in his airplane. If he sees you in the street below, he reaches out and drops a bomb on your head. (page 16)

8 F is for Family And Uncle Shepsel, propped on his elbow, was pointing at me and saying, “Why is he sleeping here? He smells.” “I regret to inform you,” said Mr. Milgrom, “that you are not a rose garden yourself these days.” Uncle Shepsel pounded the floor. “He’s not family.” Mr. Milgrom looked straight at him. “He is now.” (page 99)

9 G is for Ghetto They marched us to the ghetto. Since they had finished the brick wall – topped with broken glass and coils of barbed wire – I had not been able to visit Janina. I took this as a personal insult and challenge. (page 79)

10 H is for Horses The horses went round and round. As each wonderful horse went by, its large black eye seemed to look straight at me. So proud and high were their heads, I saw for the first time how miserable were the real horses plodding the streets. (page 60)

11 I is for Interchangeable
They found the Jew. Or should I say, they found a Jew. Jews were interchangeable. One was as good as another. I was to learn this many times. (page 66)

12 J is for Janina Her elbows were on her knees and her face leaned into her cupped hands. Her hair was curly and the color of bread crust. Her eyes were brown as chestnuts. They were very big. (page 29)

13 K is for Katherine When I said one day to my daughter, Katherine, “Drive around, out of town,” and I brought along a trowel and a bucket, she did not ask why. Why I said, “Stop here,” and dug it up, she said only, “Milkweed, right?” (page 207)

14 L is for Lice Using all my strength, I was finally able to pull the comb through my hair. I could feel the lice and their eggs peppering the back of my neck. I heard them ticking onto the floor. (page 159)

15 M is for Milgrom When you own nothing, it’s easy to let things go. I supposed my last name was Milgrom now, so Pilsudski went too. I kept Misha. I liked it. (page 104)

16 N is for Nazis Jackboots and Flops came through the lines, screaming into the people’s faces, poking them with clubs and rifles, spitting in their faces. (page 96)

17 O is for Orphans “Unlucky orphans,” I said. I told her that was what Enos called them – orphans who did not live in Doctor Korczak’s home, or any other, and who roamed the streets hungry and begging and sick. (page 84)

18 P is for Pickled Egg Although Janina did not like her comb, I knew of something she would like very much. Almost every time she ate I heard her mutter, “I wish I had a pickled egg.” I knew about pickled herring but not pickled eggs. I thought: I’ll find an egg and a pickle. (page 161)

19 Q is for Quick “He’s stupid,” said the unlaughing boy. “He’ll get us in trouble.” “He’s quick,” said Uri. “And he’s little.” “He’s a runt.” “Runt is good,” said Uri. (page 5)

20 That’s the first thing I remember. Running. (page 1)
R is for Running I am running. That’s the first thing I remember. Running. (page 1)

21 S is for Stone Angel I thought of the stone angel. I pictured the snow falling over it, two crests of snow rising on the tops of its wings. So silent, the both of them, the angel and the snow. I pretended I was the stone angel. (page 98)

22 T is for Trains We said nothing of the trains the next day. We didn’t have to. Everyone in the ghetto knew. The words were in the air, buzzing with the flies: “Trains…” “Deportations…” “Stawki Station…” (page 174)

23 U is for Uri I had never seen him so mad. His hair looked redder than ever, only this time it was not because he was laughing. He punched me in the forehead. The back of my head banged against the wall. “Someday I’m going to have to kill you to keep you alive.” (page 59)

24 V is for Visible When I finished eating the tomato, I stood and walked off. I didn’t run. When I looked back, she was still watching me. Her round, unblinking eyes made me feel as if I had just become visible, as if I had never been seen before. (page 29)

25 W is for Wendy Janina “Wendy’s middle name. I left it blank. I knew someday I would find you. She’s been waiting four years for a middle name. I want you to give it to her.” “Janina,” I said. (page 206)

26 X is for Exist Ferdi said, “Oranges don’t exist.”
“We don’t exist” said Ferdi under the rug one night. (page 88)

27 Y is for Yellow Stone I waggled my yellow stone in Uri’s face. “What about this?” He stared. “Yes…it was your father’s. He gave it to you.” I was greedy. “What else?” “Before you were kidnapped,” he said. “That’s all.” (page 31)

28 Z is for Zionists Voices shrieked out of the blinding lights: “Move! Move! All you filthy sons of Abraham! All you stinking Zionists! All you dirty Jewish pigs! Line up! Line up!” (page 95)

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