Based on a true story about the life of Yanek Gruener, Prisoner B-3087 (Lexile: 760; Interest Level: Grades 5-8) by Alan Gratz shares some gritty, gruesome information about Poland in World War II. Yanek is only 10 when the war breaks out and finds its way to his city. First, he is banned from school. Then his family is herded into the ghetto and forced into jobs. Then, the relocations begin. Yanek celebrates his bar mitzvah in a secret room at midnight on his 13th birthday, becoming a man overnight. He must learn to survive on his own as his family, and eventually himself, are taken to the camps. Ten different camps become places for Yanek to survive. He can't call them home. Every moment wondering if it would be his last.
Readers interested in World War II will likely gravitate to this book, but the stark, blunt, details of what happened in the camp make this certainly a book for the upper levels. I admit that I cried reading what happened to young Yanek. At the end, the author has a note about which things happened to the real Yanek and which were incorporated from other stories to paint a more complete picture of the camps during the war. (272 p.)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.