BY ALAN GRATZ, RUTH AND JACK GRUENER
Yanek Gruener is just an ordinary Polish boy; he lives in the wonderful city of Krakow, with his Mother, Father, and Uncle Moshe. The city was always a tranquil,serene neighborhood:Until the Nazis invaded Poland, and soon stormed Krakow and made it into a Jewish ghetto.Being a Jew himself, Yanek was trapped inside what used to be his home, but was now his prison. He goes through hunger, cramped conditions, and cold nights in the halls of his flat. But none of it even comes close to what he will experience in the concentration camps.— Rhi- age 12
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.
About the Author
Ruth Gruener was born Aurelia Gamser in 1930s Poland. Ruth and her parents survived the Holocaust by hiding in the homes of gentile families. After World War II was over, Ruth and her family moved to the United States, where Ruth tried to start an ordinary teenage life in Brooklyn. Ruth married Jack Gruener, another Holocaust survivor, with whom she lived in Brooklyn until Jack's passing in 2017. They have two children and four grandchildren. Ruth works as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan and travels all over the country to speak to schools about her and Jack's experiences in the Holocaust.
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Golden Sower Award, 2014-2015 Winner Nebraska
Isinglass Teen Read Award, 2014-2015 Winner New Hampshire
Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award, 2014-2015 Winner Pennsylvania
Junior Book Award, 2015-2016 Winner South Carolina
Grand Canyon Reader Award, 2015-2016 Winner Arizona
Truman Readers Award, 2015-2016 Winner Missouri
Readers Choice Awards, Winner 2015-2016 Virginia
Volunteer State Book Award Winner, 2015-2016 Tennessee
"A powerful story, well told." -- School Library Journal
"A bone-chilling tale not to be ignored." -- Kirkus Reviews
"[A] remarkable survival story." -- Booklist
"Gratz ably conveys . . . fatalism, yearning, and determination in the face of the unimaginable." -- Publishers Weekly
"Heartbreaking, gripping, raw, and emotional . . . storytelling at its finest." -- VOYA