Monday, June 17, 2013

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: a fable by John Boyne

The Fury has come for dinner and decided Bruno’s father is destined for greatness, so the family is moving to Out-with.  Told from the perspective of nine-year old Bruno, Boyne’s tale is a brilliantly written short novel which offers an engaging counterpoint or supplement to the textbook teachings on the Holocaust for middle and high school students.  While most fiction for adolescents features an adolescent protagonist, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas requires a more sophisticated reader to appreciate the clever wordplay referring to Hitler and Auschwitz.   Readers of all ages stand to benefit from the discussions the book will be sure to inspire, including the importance of questioning one’s surroundings, following a moral compass, and genocide.  The ending packs a quiet punch--wait to see the movie if you can.  Originally published in 2006, back matter in the 2011 edition includes eight discussion questions from Pat Scales and an interview with the author.  --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Oxford University Press has published an 88-page teacher guide written by Hayley Davies-Edwards.  You can get it for free here.

Boyne, John.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: a fable.  New York: Random House, 2011.  Print.

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