“Sitting around miserable all day won’t make you any happier.”
John Boyne’s The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas is one of the saddest books that I’ve ever read. I closed this book with the hands of the devil gripping my heart. The two little boys in this book just break it to pieces. It’s set during the Holocaust with one boys in the camp and the other outside the camp, the son of a Nazi. They end up becoming best friends.
“Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel’s hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.”
Boyne weaves the theme of Jewish pain into the narrative. There are some books at a reading level that might be a little too difficult for children to read, but they are great books that adults can read to children. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, along with books like Number the Stars and The Giver, are some of those books that would be great reads for children. Why? Because the themes of friendship, innocence, and compassion are really strong. While the ending is sad, I think it would be a valuable emotional and historical lesson for anyone at any age.
“When he closed his eyes, everything around him just felt empty and cold, as if he was the loneliest place in the world. The middle of nowhere.”
Boyne, John. The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. New York: David Fickling Books, 23 October 2007.
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