Tuesday, January 13, 2015

REVIEW--Prisoner B-3087

Good morning, readers!

As a librarian, I am constantly asked by parents for book recommendations for their kiddos, especially recommendations for students who read at a higher reading level.  Unfortunately since I work in a high school, it's often difficult for me to come up with book recommendations for strong elementary readers (because I don't know the middle school books very well and high school books have more mature content).  So I was very excited to pick up Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz because it is a great choice for strong elementary and middle school readers.  Let's jump into the review!

  • Historical fiction
  • Standalone novel
The Gist:
In the 1930s, Yanek, a boy who loves the movies, lives in Poland with his family.  When their town is taken over by Nazis, they survive in hiding for awhile on the roof of their apartment building.  But they cannot escape the tragedies of the Holocaust for long, and before the War is over, Yanek finds himself sent to 10 concentration camps.  And he is sent on two death marches.  But amidst the nightmare of his life, he is able to find glimmers of hope that help him survive.  Based on the true story of the life of Jack Gruener.

What I Loved:
  • Like I said, this book, although probably a middle school or freshman-level read, could easily be read by strong elementary readers.  
  • Despite the heavy Holocaust content--gas chambers, death marches, etc.--the book was "clean" and appropriate.  In other words, not too gruesome for readers.  I say that I loved this only because I know younger readers will grab this book.
  • I've read a lot of Holocaust fiction--wow!  Ten concentration camps and two death marches?!  I'm so glad this story was told since it is based off a true life.  
What I Didn't Love:
  • Like I said, I've read a lot of Holocaust fiction.  And even though this book covers ten concentration camps and is based on a true story, I didn't read anything here that surprised me.  Nothing new.  Not that I want to belittle Jack Gruener's story.  But in terms of literature, I didn't read anything different from the hundreds of other Holocaust stories.
  • This book was so broad, so vague.  Chapters could have been spent on what was skimmed over.  Covering ten concentration camps is a lot, but it all seemed so vague and hazy in the end.
A decent read for me--one that's good for anyone new to reading about the Holocaust.  Three of five high heels for me!

What are some of your favorite Holocaust reads?

Stop back by to see an outfit based on the 1930s in Europe!

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