The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

Random House Children's Books | September 12, 2006 | Hardcover

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is rated 4.2727 out of 5 by 11.
Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.13 × 6.15 × 0.84 in

Published: September 12, 2006

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385751060

ISBN - 13: 9780385751063

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simple, yet complex and heartbreaking Mini Book Review: I truly struggle writing reviews about books that are sheer perfection like this one. I am afraid I don`t have the appropriate words to convey that this book I believe is one that every person should read. Every time I mentioned to people that I was going to read this they gave me the warning that it doesn`t end well but that I had to read it. They were right - it doesn`t end well but don`t let that stop you. Such a wonderful story with beautiful moments of humour intertwined with brutal violence written in such a sensitive way. I read a chapter of this to my son every night before bedtime and it led to some hard conversations but ones that I felt were important. Bruno, although extremely naive, is a beautiful, honest and realistic character. The relationship and conversations between Bruno and Shmuel are heartbreaking yet honest. Also Boyne should be commended for writing such a poignant story that will rip your heart in two but at the same time give you hope. I recommend this as a book a parent, teacher, or librarian should read aloud to a child and discuss. (BTW - before the last two chapters of the book have a stiff drink so you don`t bawl your eyes out while reading to your child -- trust me!) This was a wonderful bonding experience for me and Jake -- but shhh don`t tell Jake that. 5 Dewey`s I purchased this to read to my 11 yr old after a disturbing incident at his old school Ontario. Short explanation - son told me a `joke`` he heard at school about the Holocaust. Friends suggested this would be a perfect and age appropriate story to read to him and discuss
Date published: 2013-03-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from An appalling book. An appalling book. The author of this tepid and poorly written mess boasts that he wrote the first draft in only two and a half days, and it shows. It's a perfect example of what might be called Holocaust porn: turning the greatest modern tragedy of Western civilization into a facile melodrama. A poignant setting, a swastika or two, and an unreliable narrative POV cannot turn this, or any other, cookie-cutter melodrama into something worth while for anyone, let alone a child, to read.
Date published: 2009-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking!! I just finished this book and would recommend it to everyone who can read, no matter the age. The story of two little boys each on a different side of "the fence". The author portrays a story that we are all familiar with but from a totally unexpected perspective.
Date published: 2008-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simple, yet complex. A child could easily read this book, without having to ask the meaning of many words. It's a short read, and a very easy one at that. The writing is simple and naive, but that's why this book has such an impact on the reader. The hidden messages are everywhere; Yet they are not hidden in a negative manner. I picked this book up in Chapters one day, as I needed a new book for a school project/informal presentation. The first chapter was very interesting, and piques you interest right away, and the book takes off from there. You begin to feel for the characters right away, and it gives you such a new perspective on the Holocaust. You seem to forget that the book is written in third person, and start to feel like Bruno is writing it and talking to you. This makes the emotional effect on you that much bigger. It's a book about innocence in a time of great evil. It's a book you'll want to read again and again, and tell all of your friends about as well. I'd recommend this book to anybody over the age of 12.
Date published: 2008-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Done! Books about the Holocaust are never easy to read. Some are downright terrifying and some make the reader nauseous. This book however approaches this period in history from a new and interesting angle and tells a tale of what might have happened, and in doing so opens up these stories to a whole new generation of readers. The book was originally marketed as a children's book, and then remarketed as adult fiction because of the content. The author claims it is just a book, and soon it will be a major motion picture due out in the fall of 2008. This is the story of two boys who lose everything they hold dear, yet the reality of their loss is completely different. Bruno's life is changed when his father is given a new job and they move from their five-story home in Berlin to a new home in the country that is only three stories tall. He has lost his 3 best friends in life, and his home with the banister and the attic window that looks out over all of Berlin. His new bedroom window looks over small huts in a fenced-in area where everyone wears striped pajamas. One day while being rebellious and doing what he should never do, he walks along the fence and meets a boy with whom he shares a birthday. Shmuel and Bruno meet most days and sit on the opposite sides of the fence and talk. As their friendship grows Bruno's youthful innocence is challenged. The novel is told in the third person narrative, but told from a nine-year- old's perspective. Though the reader knows that the story takes place at Auschwitz, Bruno cannot pronounce it, and misunderstood the name from the beginning. Yet in not naming the place the author leaves the story as a much broader tale. This book is extremely well-written; it takes the reader to a place and time we should never forget, and it reminds us of the human element in all stories. John Boyne has written a book that could become required reading for all school children, and maybe all adults should read it also, lest we forget. So pick it up and walk with Bruno and Shmuel as they develop a growing friendship just sitting and talking through a barbed- wire-topped chain link fence. (First Published in Imprint 2008-05-02.)
Date published: 2008-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Done! Books about the Holocaust are never easy to read. Some are downright terrifying and some make the reader nauseous. This book however approaches this period in history from a new and interesting angle and tells a tale of what might have happened, and in doing so opens up these stories to a whole new generation of readers. The book was originally marketed as a children's book, and then remarketed as adult fiction because of the content. The author claims it is just a book, and soon it will be a major motion picture due out in the fall of 2008. This is the story of two boys who lose everything they hold dear, yet the reality of their loss is completely different. Bruno's life is changed when his father is given a new job and they move from their five-story home in Berlin to a new home in the country that is only three stories tall. He has lost his 3 best friends in life, and his home with the banister and the attic window that looks out over all of Berlin. His new bedroom window looks over small huts in a fenced-in area where everyone wears striped pajamas. One day while being rebellious and doing what he should never do, he walks along the fence and meets a boy with whom he shares a birthday. Shmuel and Bruno meet most days and sit on the opposite sides of the fence and talk. As their friendship grows Bruno's youthful innocence is challenged. The novel is told in the third person narrative, but told from a nine-year- old's perspective. Though the reader knows that the story takes place at Auschwitz, Bruno cannot pronounce it, and misunderstood the name from the beginning. Yet in not naming the place the author leaves the story as a much broader tale. This book is extremely well-written; it takes the reader to a place and time we should never forget, and it reminds us of the human element in all stories. John Boyne has written a book that could become required reading for all school children, and maybe all adults should read it also, lest we forget. So pick it up and walk with Bruno and Shmuel as they develop a growing friendship just sitting and talking through a barbed- wire-topped chain link fence. (First Published in Imprint 2008-05-02.)
Date published: 2008-07-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from It was really boring The only reason i finshed this book was because i had to write a report on it for english class. The only interesting part was the ending. I love books about world war 2. This one was a dissapointment. If you like books with tons of page-turning suspense, heart breaking tradgety, and bone chilling action, this is not the book for you. I would recommend Malka, Milkweed, or Anne Frank and Me instead. Now they are great world war 2 books.....Oh and by the way, I got a 65 on the project because my teacher didn't think it was interesting.
Date published: 2008-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simple words tell unforgettable sadness The plot is simple but the ending is powerful. The sadness of war still lingers in the back of my mind. I highly recommend this book to all ages.
Date published: 2007-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perhaps the best book ever written! The Boy in the Striped Pajamas takes you on a journey back in time to 1942, as you watch the horrifying events of the Holocaust unfold before you, from the eyes of a nine-year-old. But not just any normal nine-year-old; no, this nine-year-old is different, for he is the son of Hitler’s personal Commandant, one of the most important leaders in Auschwitz during the time. As the reader quests through the brutal adventures of the Holocaust, he or she will learn just how inhumane the events of this time period actually were. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is told with such naïvety that readers will just appreciate the innocence of childhood. But those who have absolutely no background on the Holocaust and Jewish internment camps during the Second World War may not take away the clever puns from this story. In Bruno’s mind, the Fuhrer (Hitler’s name for Nazi leader) became the Fury, and Auschwitz became Out-With. The author, John Boyne, never actually refers to the names Fuhrer or Auschwitz outright in the story. He assumes his readers will catch on with his puns from the start but may assume wrongly. However, this book is still undoubtly the best I’ve ever read, as it has gone down as one of my few all-time-favorites.
Date published: 2006-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perhaps he best book ever written! The Boy in the Striped Pajamas takes you on a journey back in time to 1942, as you watch the horrifying events of the Holocaust unfold before you, from the eyes of a nine-year-old. But not just any normal nine-year-old; no, this nine-year-old is different, for he is the son of Hitler’s personal Commandant, one of the most important leaders in Auschwitz during the time. As the reader quests through the brutal adventures of the Holocaust, he or she will learn just how inhumane the events of this time period actually were. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is told with such naïvety that readers will just appreciate the innocence of childhood. But those who have absolutely no background on the Holocaust and Jewish internment camps during the Second World War may not take away the clever puns from this story. In Bruno’s mind, the Fuhrer (Hitler’s name for Nazi leader) became the Fury, and Auschwitz became Out-With. The author, John Boyne, never actually refers to the names Fuhrer or Auschwitz outright in the story. He assumes his readers will catch on with his puns from the start but may assume wrongly. However, this book is still undoubtly the best I’ve ever read, as it has gone down as one of my few all-time-favorites.
Date published: 2006-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read This is a poignant and thought provoking book that can be appreciated by people of all ages. If you have an open mind and open heart, you will appreciate what John Boyne is saying within the confines of these pages. You truly feel what the characters are going through and I found that even after I was finished reading, my thoughts were with Bruno and his new friend. Once I began reading, I could not put the book down, needing to find out how the events would unfold. it is written from the point of view of a 9 year old, and thus, we are given information as he is realizing it, which only further accentuates the confusion, the naivity and the pure heart that he has.
Date published: 2006-08-13

– More About This Product –

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

by John Boyne

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 8.13 × 6.15 × 0.84 in

Published: September 12, 2006

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385751060

ISBN - 13: 9780385751063

About the Book

Berlin 1942<br><br>When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.<br><br>But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Read from the Book

Chapter One Bruno Makes a Discovery One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid — who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet — standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked in as polite a tone as he could muster, for although he wasn’t happy to come home and find someone going through his possessions, his mother had always told him that he was to treat Maria respectfully and not just imitate the way Father spoke to her. ‘You take your hands off my things.’ Maria shook her head and pointed towards the staircase behind him, where Bruno’s mother had just appeared. She was a tall woman with long red hair that she bundled into a sort of net behind her head, and she was twisting her hands together nervously as if there was something she didn’t want to have to say or something she didn’t want to have to believe. ‘Mother,’ said Bruno, marching towards her, ‘what’s going on? Why is Maria going through my things?’ ‘She’s packing them,’ explained Mother. ‘Packing them?’ he asked, running quickly through the events of the previous few days to consider whether he’d been partic
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From the Publisher

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

From the Jacket

"Certain to be one of the publishing sensations of 2006." -The Observer (U.K.)

"A memorable and moving story." -The Oxford Times (U.K.)

"A small wonder of a book." -The Guardian (U.K.)

"A book so simple, so seemingly effortless, that it's almost perfect." -The Irish Independent

"An extraordinary book." -The Irish Examiner

About the Author

John Boyne is a full-time writer living in Dublin. He was writer-in-residence at the University of East Anglia in Creative Writing and spent many years working as a bookseller. This is his first book for young readers. The author lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Editorial Reviews

"Certain to be one of the publishing sensations of 2006." -The Observer (U.K.)

"A memorable and moving story." -The Oxford Times (U.K.)

"A small wonder of a book." -The Guardian (U.K.)

"A book so simple, so seemingly effortless, that it''s almost perfect." -The Irish Independent

"An extraordinary book." -The Irish Examiner

Bookclub Guide

1. Discuss the relationship between Bruno and Gretel. Why does Bruno seem younger than nine? In a traditional fable, characters are usually one-sided. How might Bruno and Gretel be considered one-dimensional?

2. At age 12, Gretel is the proper age for membership in the League of Young Girls, a branch of Hitler&#8217;s Youth Organization. Why do you think she is not a member, especially since her father is a high-ranking officer in Hitler''s army?

3. What is it about the house at Out-With that makes Bruno feel &#8220;cold and unsafe&#8221;? How is this feeling perpetuated as he encounters people like Pavel, Maria, Lt. Kotler, and Shmuel?

4. Describe his reaction when he first sees the people in the striped pajamas. What does Gretel mean when she says, &#8220;Something about the way [Bruno] was watching made her feel suddenly nervous&#8221;? (p. 28) How does this statement foreshadow Bruno&#8217;s ultimate demise?

5. Bruno asks his father about the people outside their house at Auschwitz. His father answers, &#8220;They&#8217;re not people at all Bruno.&#8221; (p. 53) Discuss the horror of this attitude. How does his father&#8217;s statement make Bruno more curious about Out-With?

6. Explain what Bruno&#8217;s mother means when she says, &#8220;We don&#8217;t have the luxury of thinking.&#8221; (p. 13) Identify scenes from the novel that Bruno&#8217;s mother isn&#8217;t happy about their life at Out-With. Debate whether she is unhappy being away from Berlin, or whether she is angry about her husband&#8217;s position. How does Bruno&#8217;s grandmother react to her son&#8217;s military role?

7. When Bruno and his family board the train for Auschwitz, he notices an over-crowded train headed in the same direction. How does he later make the connection between Shmuel and that train? How are both trains symbolic of each boy&#8217;s final journey?

8. Bruno issues a protest about leaving Berlin. His father responds, &#8220;Do you think that I would have made such a success of my life if I hadn&#8217;t learned when to argue and when to keep my mouth shut and follow orders?&#8221; (p. 49) What question might Bruno&#8217;s father ask at the end of the novel?

9. A pun is most often seen as humorous. But, in this novel the narrator uses dark or solemn puns like Out-With and Fury to convey certain meanings. Bruno is simply mispronouncing the real words, but the author is clearly asking the reader to consider a double meaning to these words. Discuss the use of this wordplay as a literary device. What is the narrator trying to convey to the reader? How do these words further communicate the horror of the situation?

10. When Bruno dresses in the filthy striped pajamas, he remembers something his grandmother once said. &#8220;You wear the right outfit and you feel like the person you&#8217;re pretending to be.&#8221; (p, 205) How is this true for Bruno? What about his father? What does this statement contribute to the overall meaning of the story?

11. Discuss the moral or message of the novel. What new insights and understandings does John Boyne want the reader to gain from reading this story?

12. Discuss the differences in a fable, an allegory, and a proverb. How might this story fit into each genre?

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

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