Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Hardcover272 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Scholastic Inc.

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.

I would have majored in History Education if I hadn't needed so many foreign language classes. Seriously, I offered to wash my professors dog for a C in the class... it was bad. Due to my love of history,  I love historical fiction. When it is based on true stories- count me in!

This beautifully written novel is stunning. By telling Jack (Yanek) and Ruth's story through his eyes, readers are able to get a birds eye view of what living durning the Holocaust. Especially what it was like living through 10 different concentration camps. Alan Grantz's writing captures readers attention and sucks you right in. You find yourself rooting for Yanek, crouching because you dread what is coming next, and cheering when the American troops finally come in to liberate the prisoners.

This book is a must read for my middle schoolers and is a great addition to any Social Studies curriculum. The first person point of view as well as the details of this deplorable time in history lend a hand to those teachers who are looking for a way to make history more personal. I was able to listen to the audiobook version of this and highly recommend it! It would be great to play some snippets from the novel during lessons!


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