by Alan Gratz
Jack Gruener was just like any 12 year old. He went to school, had friends, looked forward to his Bar Mitzvah. But he lived in Krakow, Poland in 1939, and the day the Nazi's invaded, his life was forever changed. This story, based on the true story of Jack himself, is the story of how one boy survived. He survived the Krakow ghetto and the uprisings and shootings that occurred there, to work camps to concentration camps. His is a story of survival under the most brutal terms, but also a story of the resiliency of humanity.
The story of Jack Gruener is one that truly moves a person. He survived the most brutal conditions at an age when he should have been playing or with friends. He lost most of his family, yet learned to continue on. The book does a good job of accurately portraying the politics of the era and the reality of life in the camps from the perspective of a 12 year old, and changes his perspective well as he ages. It is a great addition to any Holocaust book list. The story will really resonate with teens of both genders.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Level: 9th Grade