Teens & Tweens Review is an opportunity for York County Public Library teens and tweens to write book reviews for their peers.
Title: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Reviewed by: Jatin T., 8th grade
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Yanek Gruener is a Jewish boy living in the 1930’s in Poland. He lives a peaceful life, playing with friends, going to school and a lot more things a normal person does to lead a normal life. But in a series of events, Poland is invaded by the German Nazi Soldiers. The Nazis take everything brutally away from him, his family, his life, and most importantly, his identity. He is now treated like an animal among the “better” humans. But his pain is not over yet. One day the Nazis take him to a concentration camp. Life is horrible, there is no food, no safety, and no freedom. Will Yanek be able to survive all the concentration camps he goes to or give up and die trying?
Prisoner B-3087 was a very thrilling novel to read. It includes a lot of facts about what concentration camps were like. This is a amazing book to read and I hope you read it too. Some things that could have been a smidge better is, the book’s ending was relatively fast compared to the detailed book. One chapter Yanek is the the concentration camp and the other chapter he meets his family and friends and lives a good life. That is the one thing I did not like about the book. Moving on to one thing I absolutely loved about the book was how the author jumped into the plot of the book and not wasting time on the details that were not needed. Overall this book is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read historical fiction books. It was a really fun time reading this book and I hope you like it too.
If you're looking for more books about young Holocaust survivors, try one of these choices from the YCPL collection.
- White Bird by R.J. Palacio Summary: In R. J. Palacio's bestselling collection of stories Auggie & Me, which expands on characters in Wonder, readers were introduced to Julian's grandmother, Grandmère. Here, Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with Grandmère's heartrending story: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; how the boy she and her classmates once shunned became her savior and best friend.
Sara's harrowing experience movingly demonstrates the power of kindness to change hearts, build bridges, and even save lives. As Grandmère tells Julian, "It always takes courage to be kind, but in those days, such kindness could cost you everything." With poignant symbolism and gorgeous artwork that brings Sara's story out of the past and cements it firmly in this moment in history, White Bird is sure to captivate anyone who was moved by the book Wonder or the blockbuster movie adaptation and its message.
- The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman
Summary: Imani is adopted, and she's ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way. Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift- to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she's black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom's grandmother—Imani's great-grandma Anna—passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It's Anna's diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna's diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.
- Boy From Buchenwald: The True Story of a Holocaust Survivor by Robert Waisman
Summary: It was 1945 and Romek Wajsman had just been liberated from Buchenwald, a brutal concentration camp where more than 60,000 people were killed. He was starving, tortured, and had no idea where his family was-let alone if they were alive. Along with 472 other boys, including Elie Wiesel, these teens were dubbed "The Buchenwald Boys." They were angry at the world for their abuse, and turned to violence: stealing, fighting, and struggling for power. Everything changed for Romek and the other boys when Albert Einstein and Rabbi Herschel Schacter brought them to a home for rehabilitation Romek Wajsman, now Robbie Waisman, humanitarian and Canadian governor general award recipient, shares his remarkable story of transforming pain into resiliency and overcoming incredible loss to find incredible joy.
- We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance by Deborah Hopkinson
Summary: Sibert Honor author Deborah Hopkinson unearths the heroic stories of Jewish survivors from different countries so that we may never forget the past. As World War II raged, millions of young Jewish people were caught up in the horrors of the Nazis' Final Solution. Many readers know of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi state's genocidal campaign against European Jews and others of so-called "inferior" races. Yet so many of the individual stories remain buried in time. Of those who endured the Holocaust, some were caught by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps, some hid right under Hitler's nose, some were separated from their parents, some chose to fight back. Against all odds, some survived. They all have stories that must be told. They all have stories we must keep safe in our collective memory.
In this thoroughly researched and passionately written narrative nonfiction for upper middle-grade readers, critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson allows the voices of Holocaust survivors to live on the page, recalling their persecution, survival, and resistance. Focusing on testimonies from across Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Poland, Hopkinson paints a moving and diverse portrait of the Jewish youth experience in Europe under the shadow of the Third Reich. With archival images and myriad interviews, this compelling and beautifully told addition to Holocaust history not only honors the courage of the victims, but calls young readers to action—by reminding them that heroism begins with the ordinary, everyday feat of showing compassion toward our fellow citizens.