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Prisoner B-3087 [Kindle Edition]

Alan Gratz , Jack Gruener , Ruth Gruener
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-10-"If I had known what the next six years of my life were going to be like, I would have eaten more. I wouldn't have complained about brushing my teeth, or taking a bath, or going to bed at eight o'clock every night." Yanek Gruener was 10 years old when the German army invaded Poland in 1939 and trapped his family inside the walls of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. Over the course of World War II, he saw his parents deported by the Nazis and survived 10 different concentration camps. Through Gratz's spare, persistent prose, the story of the boy's early life unfolds with the urgency and directness necessary for survivor stories. While some liberties have been taken, with the permission of Gruener and his wife, Ruth, also a survivor, the experiences and images come directly from the Grueners' collective memories of the war. An author's note provides further biographical information. A powerful story, well told.-Sara Saxton, Tuzzy Consortium Library, Barrow, AKα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

When Hitler’s army entered and occupied his native Kraków, 10-year-old Yanek knew his life might change, but he had no idea of the horror that lay ahead. His remarkable survival story begins with a dramatic, emotional punch and then chronicles such moments as his secretive bar mitzvah in a warehouse basement, the systematic round up of Jews, and his deportation to the Plaszow concentration camp, the first of 10 camps he would suffer but survive. He recalls encounters with such Nazi figures as the sadistic Amon Goeth and describes acts of wanton, viscious brutality. In an appended note, Gratz explains that the novel is based on actual events in survivor Jack Gruener’s life but he has “taken liberties with some times and events” to provide a better overview. The account includes basic historical information including essential aspects of WWII. A map would have been helpful, but this essentially true story is a good starting point for students unfamiliar with the Holocaust. Pair it with Doreen Rappaport’s Beyond Courage (2012) and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Grades 5-8. --Linda Perkins

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This poignant story, based on the experiences of Yanek Gruener, would be the perfect starting point for MG readers just learning about the atrocities of the Holocaust. While full of sorrow, Yanek's story is full of hope as he faces adversity head on. It may be hard to believe that Yanek is able to keep his head up and not wish ill on his fellow inmates as he suffers in one camp after another, slowly dehumanized, but "hard to believe" and "impossible" are two different things, and I not only find it possible, but I also highly admire Yanek, and all those who experienced this wicked time in our world's history. I would say that, while this isn't a joyous story by any means, it is in fact less depressing than others I've read, such as Night, by Elie Wiesel, and that is why I think it'd be a great starting point for MG students. It gives just enough information about the events of the timeframe to pique reader interest, but not to scar the still fragile minds of 6th and 7th graders through tough descriptions and imagery. Instead, this book readies young minds for a deeper study of the topic, which they will face in high school. The writing of this novel is easy to understand as well, another reason this would be a great choice for MG readers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing April 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Amazing and having yanek survive a lot of cruel payment and without his family no one to be loved by. I would recommend this book to any one over 5th grade. I personally loved how it was based off a true story, a young boy who lost his family had to man up and survive, from hiding under floor boards to riding a train crammed with people and to ten concentration camps.- Christopher Brake
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential for readers of any age March 12, 2013
The Nazi atrocities towards anyone they believed to be their inferiors is something that students must continue to learn and study if we hope to avoid something similar in the future. Yet, it is such a tricky subject to approach when children are younger. The need to protect a child's innocence wars with the need to inform. Often this can result in a story that only hints at what happened, forcing children to infer the truth, if possible, or leaving the tougher questions for their teachers and parents to answer. Alan Gratz's Prisoner B-3087 is one of the few novels that fully informs but does so without scarring or scaring its young readers.

Geared towards children through grade nine, Prisoner B-3087 is written in such a way that readers of all ages can appreciate Yanek's story and learn varying lessons from it. For those older readers, including adults, the full horrors of Yanek's experiences are difficult to believe and to stomach. Yet, for younger readers, they will be able to gloss over the more morbid details and focus on Yanek's personal narrative about keeping his sense of identity and his will to survive. Each element of his story is important and vital for starting discussions, but it allows those discussions to be age-appropriate in a way few novels about the Holocaust are.

This is not to say that Yanek's narrative is not without its sense of the macabre. No story about the Holocaust can be without discussions of the gas chambers, the chimneys, the starvation, the cattle cars, the humiliation, and the sense of isolation that the Nazis utilized so well. Yanek witnesses and experiences things no one person should ever have to see in his or her life time, and he does not hide those experiences.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Story June 27, 2013
Prisoner B-3087 is one of countless Holocaust books that I've read and it definitely won't be the last one I'll read. The author, Alan Gratz has taken the true story of Ruth and Jack Gruener and changed a little bit of the story to make it a novel for kids. This story is merely a stepping stone about learning about WWII and the Holocaust, the author doesn't dismiss the horrors. Gratz describes the atrocities of the Holocaust with few details making it a good place for younger readers to start learning about it. This book will help provide younger readers with a sense of what people went through that were kids just like them.

Readers who are already familiar with the Holocaust may not want to read this one because of the targeted audience. I think that Yanek's story may not be new to knowledgeable readers but it's still a worthy read. It's remarkable how one person could survive TEN concentration camps and still live to see another day. To carry on with your live after all that is truly something spectacular and I applaud Ruth and Jack Gruener for never giving up. Readers of Prisoner B-3087 may feel that the author is rushing with stories about each concentration camp and is holding back details. I'm pretty sure that this was done intentionally due to the audience but I would have liked to have read a more thorough account.

Prisoner B-387 is a gripping account of the Holocaust that is based on a true story. I quickly read through this book due to the fast-paced and it's relatively short length. I believe that the most fascinating part of this book was the Acknowledgements where Gratz informed the reader about Jack and Ruth Gruener. I said it before, but I can't get over how strong-willed and brave you had to be to survive 10 concentration camps.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Its an awesome book!!!;P
Published 1 hour ago by Mary Pendleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read.
Published 3 days ago by Allie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
I couldn't put this book down and read it in one day. It is definitely a must read for adults and kids!
Published 9 days ago by Mishki F. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Honestly ok hate reading but this book really inspired me to start this Is a wonderful book and I love the story you must read this book
Published 12 days ago by Johnna Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book
Tells a good story about a 13 year old who survived 9 concentration camps in world war ||. Truly Mazing TRUE story
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 18 days ago by alladria
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
this was a gift
Published 22 days ago by Linda H
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful thought provoking story
I am in 8th grade and my teacher recommended this book to me. I found this book very addicting , and it made me appreciate my life more then I previously had. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Lisa Sutter
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
My 11 year old granddaughter checked this out of her school library and recommended it to me. It was so hard to read, so hard to put down, and beyond my comprehension what lurks in... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Schrote
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy cow!! Amazing!
This book brought me to tears. Truly amazing that Jack had survived it all.
I'm in awe.... My favorite book.
Published 26 days ago by R. Turner
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More About the Author

I'm the author of a number of books for young readers, including Samurai Shortstop, Something Rotten, Something Wicked, The Brooklyn Nine, Fantasy Baseball, and Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game. My wife and I are also the authors of the Gratz Industries blog, where we chronicle our attempts to lead creative, productive lives.

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