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The Berlin Boxing Club

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  2,415 ratings  ·  410 reviews
Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.

Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by HarperTeen (first published April 26th 2011)
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Melissa Frye
Have you ever read a book that you knew had to be shared, not just with a friend or family member, but with the multitudes. The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow should be read by all teenage boys.
Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Nazi era Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as
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Caleb Beard
Great Book!! It should be read by all teenage guys. Not exacty a girl book, but that doesnt mean girls cant read it. That being said there were a few issues with the book.
VIOLENT CONTENT
This book is set at the beginning of World War II and it is about boxing so you can expect some violence. Karl is beat up a few times. Bowing matches are held, sometimes on the radio, blow by blow. Kristallnact happens at the end, during which screams are heard and some boys break into Karls house, break things
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Julie Gardner
My previous foray into historical fiction was pretty blah, so I didn't have high hopes for YA historical fiction about a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany. I was pleasantly surprised by the original perspective of the protagonist who is not a practicing Jew and who comes of age at a boxing club amidst some very real, very complex historical figures. I only wish the author would have explored the comic book aspect a little more. I loved the parallels he drew with the new Superman and would have loved to ...more
Justin Baker
This is one of the better books I've read in my years. It was very action packed and there was never a dull moment. I like how it made you feel like you were Jewish in nazi-Germany. The story was also very realistic in my mind. There are no complaints to be had about this book. I would highly recommend this book to anybody.
Juliet Webb
This is a really great, interesting, surprisingly emotional and educational read about a young Jewish teen who finds himself through boxing. Karl Stern is a Jewish 14 year old who is going through the difficulties of the Holocaust. His family is blood Jewish, but they don't look anything like Jewish people and do not practice the religion. Karl doesn't understand why he is being interrogated by the awful "Wolf Pack" at his school and all the other people of Germany. When he is offered the chance ...more
Yuko86
La stella nel pugno è un romanzo di formazione ambientato nella Germania degli anni ‘30, in cui ci vengono narrate le vicissitudini di un giovane ragazzino ebreo la cui vita viene stravolta dal regime.

Inizialmente la vita di Karl è identica a quella di tutti i bambini tedeschi, e prosegue tranquilla anche durante la diffusione dei primi moti d’odio nei confronti degli ebrei grazie al suo aspetto ordinario e al fatto che la sua famiglia non è praticante. Ma quando alcuni ragazzi della sua scuola
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Alex Baugh
The Berlin Boxing Club is an historical fiction novel about a young secular Jewish teen coming of age in Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1939. Karl Stern has never considered himself a Jew and his Aryan looks have always helped him get away with that. But not anymore.

After receiving a vicious beating by some former friends turned Hitler Youth bullies, Karl has the good fortune to meet boxing champion Max Schmeling, who knows immediately that he had been beaten up. He offers to give Karl boxing le
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Kelly
This powerful and thought-provoking novel set in Berlin from 1934 to 1938 dramatically chronicles the impact of Hitler's rise to power through the eyes of Karl Stern. After suffering a humiliating beating by some pro-Nazi bullies, the 13-year-old happily accepts the chance to be coached by Max Schmeling, the champion boxer he meets at a reception in his father's art gallery. Boxing has never been one of Karl's interests, but it becomes his main focus. Prior to his humiliation at school, drawing ...more
Matt Turner
The Berlin Boxing Club was a very well written book by Robert Sharenow. This was the first book I have read by this author and since first impressions are key it's important to note that I would read another book by him. The book starts out with a boy named Karl who goes to school in Germany. He is a Jewish boy and boys pick on him constantly. One day a gang of boys beats him up."Franz threw several punches at my face, landing on my eye and the side of my mouth." (p.12) This is a quote from one ...more
Trevor
Over the past couple weeks I read “The Berlin Boxing Club” by Robert Sharenow. I thought it was a great book throughout. It is in the point of view of Karl Stern who happens to have Jewish heritage in the makings of Nazi Germany. He never thinks of himself as Jewish and keeps his heritage a secret, but somehow bullies at his school find out and harass him. In the beginning, his parents disillusion him to the situation his father’s art gallery has been put in by the Nazis. He starts out the book ...more
Alexander
This was an unbelievable book. It was a truly touching, inspirational story, and a great eyeopener to the horrors that were performed during the great depression.
Alongside that fact, a couple specific sentences really hit home for me. The first one appeared after his parents had a major fight around page 180. "Race and religion didn't seem to matter in the ring, or if they mattered, they were points of pride or distinction." This one has a really strong meaning, even if it were unintended. It go
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Nick
Aimed at young adults, this provides a very different view of the oppression of the Jews under Nazi Germany.
Karl doesn't think of himself as Jewish, even though his grandparents were. He's never been to synagogue, and his parents are non-observant. His father's only passion is for modern art, and he has taught Karl that the beliefs of Judaism are too old-fashioned.
That doesn't matter to the Nazis, as they slowly change the laws and the rules of society. Karl's only escape is into the world of b
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Darius Powell
The book I read was the Berlin Boxing Club. The book wasn’t that great to me. The book took a while to get to the point. It started out alright = but took a while to get to the climax. I hardly learned anything from this book. There were no morals in this book that would pertain to me.
This book started out promisingly enough - decent characters, plotting, writing, etc. I was frustrated by the fact of the characters being so simple and boring. Some of the character’s thoughts and the writing sty
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Emma F.
The book The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow follows the life of one young Karl Stern during the rise of the Nazi party in Berlin, Germany. Other important characters include his younger sister, his mother, his father, and Max Schleming. The plot of this historical-fiction novel is based around the real-life boxing champion Max Schleming, who did actually help save two young Jewish children.

Karl Stern is a Jewish teenager who looks nothing like the Nazi-propaganda posters say he should. A
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Ricki
Although Karl Stern's family is not religious, they are considered Jewish based on the fact that three out of four grandparents were Jewish. Luckily for Karl, he does not have Jewish features, so his classmates and the public are unaware of his heritage. When his classmates discover his true religion, they beat him up. At an art auction, his father's friend, Max Schmeling, offers to give him boxing lessons. (Max Schmeling was a very famous boxer at the time who knocked out Joe Louis.)

Karl develo
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Monica
3.5, really. There were some very sensitive parts of history touched by this book and for that, I am grateful. There were also some really interesting bits about character and morality that could be good conversation starters. I cared about these characters--always a plus.
Cassidy Bordo
I did not expect to enjoy The Berlin Boxing Club because I do not have any particular interest in boxing, but the book proved to be just as much about the Holocaust as it did about boxing and I liked the book a lot. It takes you through the evolution of Karl Stern, who is a defenseless and self conscience fourteen year old boy at the beginning of the book and is a great and confident boxer by the end. Max Schmeling, a champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to gi ...more
Aaron Moy
The Berlin Boxing Club is about a Jewish boy named Karl Stern, who lives in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. Karl and his family are non-practicing, and don't associate themselves with the Jews. By cause of relentless attacks on Karl due to his heritage, Karl longs to prove himself to others. When world famous boxer Max Schmeling makes a deal with Karl's father to give him boxing lessons, Karl sees this as a perfect opportunity to reinvent himself. After much training and hard work, Karl f ...more
Chloe
The Berlin Boxing Club is a non-fiction book about a boy named Karl Stern learning to box. Each chapter seems like a challenge for Karl to get through, whether its girl issues or boxing issues, and somehow he manages to complete them all! One day, he was beat up by a group of bullies called the ‘wolf pack’ for being Jewish. Max Schmelling, the best boxer in Europe, offered to teach Karl to box in return for a painting that he really loved. Karl went from being a scrawny whisper of a person to a ...more
Kelly
This is historical fiction the way it should be with a coming of age story, the Holocaust viewed through a young teen's eyes, and plenty of action along with fictional characters who seem so real it's hard to distinguish them from the real-life characters in the story. Karl's story is one that appeals to all ages because there are so many levels to his tale. Bullied because he's a Jew, a geeky, outsider because he wants to be a cartoonist, and burdened with protecting himself and his sister in B ...more
Jac Sevasta
There were a few things I really, really enjoyed with this book.

First, even though it's a historical fiction Holocaust novel, it doesn't start in medias res. It's the lead-up to the war, set in Berlin, and it actually finishes up during Kristallnacht. Students don't usually get the opportunity to read about the befores: the creeping tones of things getting VERY NOT GOOD around the country, the good and bad decisions people made to stand up for or single out their Jewish neighbors, the hesitancy
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Con
The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow makes the reader believe that even if they do not have a lot of power they should also try to do the small acts of kindness in everyday life. In the city of Berlin right before World War II a Jew called Karl is beaten up. To try and stop this he wants to learn how to fight. His father, an art connoisseur, trades a beautiful piece of art to Max Schmeling, one of the best boxers in the world. Karl learns how to fight from him even as the city starts turnin ...more
Lisa
I bought this book at a middle school book fair. It is young adult, historical fiction based loosely on the true story of Max Schmeling, a boxing star in Nazi Germany. After a defeat to Joe Louis and after harboring two Jewish children in his apartment, Hitler was not happy with him any longer, and Max was forcibly drafted into the German paratroopers where he was wounded in combat.

But this story is not about him. It is about Karl Stern, a young boy bullied at his school in Nazi Berlin, even tho
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Laura Bloom-johnson
Loved it! I have been so lucky that many of the book I have read for summer break have been so good. This book was super easy reading; the plot just sucked me in. I like how this is a Holocaust book that dealt with topics not much visited: the main character, Karl is a talented artist, his dad an art dealer, his mom suffers from depression, and he looks nothing like a Jew while is younger sister totally fits the outer mold. All of these elements make for an interesting story.

Furthermore, one of
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Alyson
After reading The Diary of Anne Frank, Number the Stars, The Boy in Striped Pajamas, and The Book Thief, I had formed a little genre in my mind of "stories about Jewish children experiencing the Holocaust." While The Berlin Boxing Club technically fits into that category, it is vastly different and curiously refreshing.

Although Jewish fictional main character Karl Stern has never gone to a synagogue and doesn't look particularly Jewish, he begins to find that society (and the aggressive Aryan sc
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Kathryn
Loved this book!!! Karl is such an inspiring person and I literally could sense him growing up throughout the book.It made me cry, it made me laugh. And I'm happy that Karl escaped in the end.
Mears, Isaac
This book was horrible. It was obviously written by someone who either did not know how to write or chose to write badly so as to reach an audience of barely literate middle school kids. In this novel, Sharenow reveals that he does not understand basic human interactions, creating awkward scenes that no one could ever relate to. He also uses lucky coincidences and unrealistic events to create his story line. In no world would the most famous boxer in all of Nazi Germany agree to train a random, ...more
Ms Cochran
I liked how although this is a fictional account of Kristallnacht and a Jewish family in Berlin, it's set against the history between Max Schmelling and Joe Louis. I'll admit not a boxing fan, but the writing made me want to learn more about the sport; maybe because it meant so much to Karl and I became fond of his character.
Thomas
I thought that this was a great book. It takes place in Germany before World War II. In "The Berlin Boxing Club" a boy named Karl Stern is struggling in his everyday life. He is Jewish and new laws have separated him from the regular Germans. When Karl meets boxing star Max Schmelling he suggests that Karl could get some boxing lessons from him at the Berlin Boxing Club. Karl is flattered with the offer and after convincing his father he is ready for his first boxing lesson. As time drags on Kar ...more
Mitchell
I enjoyed the book The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow because of the perspective and how it is written. Sharenow showed a different angle of the Holocaust that was interesting. I wouldn't have thought of it in this way before. He writes the book through the eyes of a boy named Karl Stern. He doesn’t look like a Jew, he has never attended synagogue, and his family doesn't practice the religion, however that doesn't matter to his Nazis youth peers. A professional German boxer of the name Ma ...more
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Mock Printz 2015: Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow 1 16 Nov 17, 2011 10:07AM  
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Robert Sharenow is an award-winning writer and television producer. His first novel, My Mother the Cheerleader, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.

He is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer and serves as senior vice preside
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More about Robert Sharenow...
My Mother the Cheerleader The Girl in the Torch

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“The weakest punches are thrown with the tongue.” 21 likes
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