Whoa. The story of Yanek Gruener is crazy overwhelming. Growing up as a Jewish boy in Poland, Yanek never expected to end up in a concentration camp run by Nazis, let alone TEN concentration camps. But, that's exactly what happened to him. As he is bounced from one camp to the next, denying his odds of death at every turn, we see what an intense will to live the boy had and how much hope he had amidst the terror that seemed to be at every corner.
Alan Gratz has written this work of fiction, but it's based on a true story. This really happened to a young man that had no idea his life would go in such a horrific direction. Though sometimes lacking the emotion necessary for a story of this magnitude, I found the experience of Yanek to be incredibly inspiring and one that could certainly add to the many other books written for middle graders about the Holocaust.
Teachers and librarians, add it to your shelves!
Thank you to Scholastic for the review copy.