The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

ISBN-10: 0385751532
ISBN-13: 9780385751537
Author: Boyne, John
Interest Level: 7-12
Publisher: Penguin Random House

Publication Date: October 2007

Copyright: 2006

Page Count: 224

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Interest Level

Grades 7-12

Reading Level

Lexile: 1000L
Accelerated Reader Level: 5.8
Accelerated Reader Points: 7.0

BISAC Subjects

Concentration camps; Poland; Fiction

Concentration camps; Poland; Fiction

Concentration camps; Poland; Fiction

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 to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people 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 from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
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TEKS Independent Reading Collection, Grade 7


Mary Robertson, Special Accounts Coordinator

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8/10/2011 4:44:21 PM
Bruno has led a privileged life in Berlin as the son of a German Officer. They live in a large house and Bruno enjoys playing with friends and spying on his sister, Gretel. After a visit from the “Fury”, Bruno suddenly finds himself on a train with his family headed to a home near his father’s new job. As they board the spacious train, he notices another one and can’t figure out why it is so crowded. Bruno’s mother tells him, “We don’t have the luxury of thinking.” Life at “Out-With” is very different and Bruno misses home. From a window, he can see children and people on the opposite side of a fence and he feels cold when he watches them. One day, he meets a boy named Shmuel who lives on the other side of the fence. Not understanding why, he never tells his family about his new friend who shares his birthday. “We’re not supposed to be friends, you and me. We’re supposed to be enemies. Did you know that?”

This book teems with topics and themes for discussion and no two groups will follow the same pattern. Some starter topics might include: bullying, fear, role of bystanders, blindly following the crowd, ambition, following orders, enemies, fences, and intolerance. By allowing students to explore the story using examples that they know, it ultimately leads to more questions for discussion as well as writing projects if desired. How did it happen? Can it ever happen again? A good follow up title would be Todd Strasser’s The Wave that describes a modern history class experiment that goes terribly wrong.