Monday, March 3, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Prisoner B-3087

by: Alan Gratz
Scholastic 2013

From Goodreads:
Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story.

If you have a middle grader who doesn't know much about the Holocaust, or even if they do, this is a book they should read. Based on the true story of Jack and Ruth Gruener, it shares how Yanek (Jack) survived 10 different concentrations camps as well as the Krakow ghetto before World War II ended.

The book does a good job of sharing the horrors Yanek survived as a young boy and teenager (he was 10 when the war started) in a way for kids to read and learn from, but keeps the graphic-ness to a minimum. It is amazing the will to live that Yanek possessed, even when giving in to death would have been a welcome relief. Reading his account will help kids realize the importance of remembering who they are and where they come from whatever the cost.

Thanks for stopping by this week. See you again next week!