Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat


   Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2017.

ISBN: 978-0-374-30571-0

Format:  hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Genre: memoir

What did you like about the book? This amazing true story will grip readers from the first page. The author is pictured on the cover of the book, a young boy with blond hair being liberated with other children from Auschwitz at the end of World War II. As explained in the preface, Michael Bornstein had never spoken much about his experience as a Jewish boy in Poland during the war years. Then, something he discovered on the Internet became the catalyst he needed to finally tell his story, with the help of his daughter.  Written for older middle schoolers and young adults, this heartbreaking, and at times horrifying, account tells the story of Michael’s family as the Nazis came to power and inflicted their increasing brutality on the Jewish people.  The story culminates with his liberation from Auschwitz in 1945 and his immigration to the United States in 1951.  It is written in an age-appropriate manner, but readers should still be prepared to read of terrible atrocities. An important piece of literature, teachers and parents should be ready to discuss it with young readers, or better yet, read it themselves.  Readers will be left with much to ponder, both about people’s capacity for evil as well as their ability to endure and to triumph.

To whom would you recommend this book? Read alikes?  Recommend to mature, older middle schoolers, young adults and adults seeking first-hand accounts of the Holocaust.  Also recommend The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Who should buy this book? Middle schools, high schools, and public libraries should purchase this important contribution to Holocaust literature.

Where would you shelve it ?  Biographies or 940.53

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, definitely.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

Date of review: March 29, 2017

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