By Alan Gratz
Scholastic Press, 2013. 260 pages. Historical fiction.
Prisoner B-3087 is a powerful novel based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Jack (Yanek) Gruener. The story begins when the ten year old's Polish hometown is invaded by the Nazis and turned into an fenced-in ghetto. We see everything and everyone Yanek loves taken from him, quickly and ruthlessly. Over the next six years, Yanek is moved from concentration camp to concentration camp (ten in all), surviving on little to no food and experiencing horrific treatment. He lives with the survival touchstone, "We cannot let these monsters tear us from the pages of the world." From a secret bar mitzvah ceremony to a wilderness death march, Yanek doesn't lose his fight to live and grow. His journey is from the innocence of a child who has seen the worst, and wonders why things have to be, to a young adult who ultimately realizes that not everything can be reasoned. I believe this is one of the more remarkable contributions to WWII fiction in recent years. Fifth grade and up.