Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz (YA novel) Truman Nominee 2015-2016 260 p.
This was a very moving book that should appeal to some reluctant readers. Yanek is a happy 10- year-old Jewish boy living in Krakow when the Germans invade. Life as he knew it comes to an end. His parents are torn away from him. He is sent to concentration camp after concentration camp after concentration camp. He is beaten, starved, and worked nearly to death. Death becomes a constant companion. After 6 years of horror at the hands of the Nazis, the allies invade and the prisoners are freed. My favorite quote from the book comes when Yanek receives his prisoner tattoo: " B-3087. That's what the Nazis carved into my skin. B for Birkenau, 3087 for my prisoner number. That was the mark they put on me, a mark I would have for as long as I lived. B-3087. That was how I was to them, Not Yanek Gruener, son of Oskar and Mina. Not Yanek Gruener of ....Karkow. Not Yanek Gruener who loved books and science and American movies. I was prisoner B-3087. But I was alive." And Yanek did live. He and his wife Ruth live in Brooklyn and travel the country to speak about the Holocaust and the importance of rememering, For you see, this may be a novel, but Yanek is a real person. He did survive the Holocaust and this book was written with his blessing.