Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas By: John Boyne

Bruno does not understand what is happening with his family, they are moving from their beautiful home in Berlin.  Their new home,  called "Out With",  is not as nice and has no friends or anybody around them except for the people behind the fence he can see from his bedroom window.  Bruno wants to understand what is happening and why they are there but no one will answer his questions.  One day he decides to go on an adventure and he walks along the fence for a long time.  He sees a boy sitting on the other side of the fence and he sits across from him.  This boy is named Shmuel, and they share the same birthday and year.  They become friends, and Bruno brings Shmuel food and they spend time talking each day.  Bruno still does not understand why things are going on, and one day Shmuel tells Bruno that his father has disappeared.  Bruno wants to help so Shmuel brings him a pair of striped pajamas and he goes under the fence to help his friend.

This was a heart wrenching book for me, as everything about the Holocaust is.  This nine year old has no idea that his father works for such a horrible person.  He has no understanding of why everyone says goodbye by, "Heil Hitler".  He is so in the dark and it shows the innocence of children.  My heart is broken for the way things end up in this book and it made me so sad.  But it is a beautifully written story and is a must read.  I would NOT suggest for anyone in elementary to read and only for the mature readers in middle school and older.   It would be a great historical fiction addition to a unit on the Holocaust though for high school teachers.  And there is a movie based on the novel.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-385-75189-6

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