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The Island on Bird Street

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,277 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
During World War II a Jewish boy is left on his own for months in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he must learn all the tricks of survival under constantly life-threatening conditions.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 20th 1992 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1981)
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Jan 04, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Yes it's a holocaust book. But: it's a great read because this kid does a Robinson Crusoe/ Swiss Family Robinson thing, all by himself in the Warsaw ghetto after the residents who haven't starved have been sent to the camps. His bravery and ingenuity are inspiring and *fun* to read about. This is as engaging a read as any current fantasy-adventure... who needs evil viziers and trolls when you have real traitorous snitches (rats) and German soldiers? The kid even has a gun that his father (reluct ...more
Jan 25, 2012 Katrina rated it it was amazing
Orlev, Uri. The Island on Bird Street.
New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984. Novel.

This is a book about a boy named Alex who narrates his story after his father was taken away by the Nazis. He has to learn to survive on his own and hide from the Nazis in a ruined house in the Warsaw Ghetto. His father promises Alex that he would come back to find him and that he must stay away from the Germans no matter what. The setting is deeply described by many of the chatracters throughout th
Dec 23, 2007 Yoke rated it it was amazing
German soldiers have separated the main character, Alex, from his father. Alex is a young, Jewish boy whose mother has already been lost to the Holocaust. He promises to hide and wait for his father at 78 Bird Street in the evacuated Polish Ghetto. Days go by; his father does not come, and he comes to understand that he must make himself a safe home. Then Alex realizes that his house is like an island, and he begins his life as a modern day Robinson Crusoe. He even has a buddy like Robinson’s ma ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Meryem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Livre que l'on devait lire au collège et dont j'en garde très bons souvenirs puisque je reprends plaisir à le relire.
Histoire d'un petit garçon Polonais qui s'en sors très bien grâce à son intelligence lors de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale.
Je pense que ce petit livre était vraiment une belle idée de la part de ma prof de Français de l'époque, et qu'il devrait être obligatoire au collège car le personnage principal est un enfant.
Ângela Serrão
Jul 12, 2015 Ângela Serrão rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este livro fala de um tema que não é propriamente fora do comum - a II Guerra Mundial. Só por aí já tinha alguns receios em relação ao livro; não que não me interesse pelo assunto mas sim pelo facto de ser muito (mal) abordado em certos livros. História é História e confunde-me um pouco aquela ficção histórica fantasiada. Contudo, tal não ocorreu com este livro; aliás, um dos pormenores que gostei desta obra foi o facto de a acção ter ocorrido na Polónia e não na típica Alemanha. Em termos de ce ...more
This is a really good way to introduce the holocaust to younger children. It explores the surface of the Nazi/Polish treatment of the Jews during WWII, but it does not examine the depth or detail of violence and emotion that most holocaust books reserve for their more mature readers. Orlev utilizes themes of bravery, ingenuity, impossible decisions, hope, and family, while still attempting to be just realistic enough to be believable.

3.5 stars. Didn't get 4 stars because it was very "safe."

Oct 20, 2013 Gina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: young readers interested in the Holocaust
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 25, 2015 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-1001
Alex is left alone to hide in an abandoned building after his parents and most of his friends and other relatives are carted off by the Nazis. It’s a suspenseful story, a story where you don’t know who is good and who is bad, where you worry that friends may deceive you, where you never know when the Nazis will find you and cart you off, too.
Yaffa Shira
Jun 23, 2011 Yaffa Shira rated it it was amazing
My father told me it got a great review and that I should read it, I did, it was only the second Hebrew novel I have ever finished!! Glad I read it. I read it in the original. It is a kids' book, so the five stars are in a category of their own, or of my own definition. It is 5 stars because that is how I feel about having read a Hebrew Novel, and 5 cuz I really enjoyed reading it.
António Neves
Feb 20, 2014 António Neves rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gostei muito do livro! :D
Pode-se achar um pouco infantil devido à escrita ser simples mas como se passa em plena II Guerra Mundial o livro deixa de ser assim tão infantil.

Obrigado Laura Martins por mo teres emprestado! :)
Jul 03, 2014 Melinda rated it it was amazing
Sweet story of a boys survival in the ghetto of Warsaw at the end of WW!!. Loved the way the boy thought things through and was innovative and smart. I like the way he listened to what his Father told him and then stayed the course. I'll keep this book. This was a page turner.
Hsaiym Shomo
Feb 22, 2017 Hsaiym Shomo rated it liked it
I gave it three stars because it was really interesting and wondering what he would do the next day or who he would meet or talk about. but it was a little boring because nothing cool really happened it was him sitting in his house or with Boruch at his dads job.

what I think would make it better is if they added a little action I honestly the book would end with the dad Boruch and Alex would get on a train and look for ales's mother.
Sep 01, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, europe, children
Dwunastoletni Alek mieszka z tatą w warszawskim getcie. Jest rok 1943, trwają wywózki z getta, a ludność stara się na wszelkie sposoby przetrwać. Mama Alka zniknęła - poszła odwiedzić koleżankę i nigdy nie wróciła. Tata pracuje w fabryce lin, ale wraz z zaufanym kolegą ma obmyślony plan uratowania chłopaka, na wypadek czyszczenia getta. I faktycznie nadchodzi ten dzień, kiedy pracownicy fabryki muszą opuścić budynek, Alkowi udaje się uciec. Chłopiec chowa się w opuszczonym, zrujnowanym budynku, ...more
Oliver Guarnieri
Sep 26, 2014 Oliver Guarnieri rated it it was amazing
The Island On Bird Street by Uri Orlev

Oliver Guarnieri 9-26-14

Ms.Castiello Mrs.Richardson

This book takes place in the warsaw, Poland during World War II. It is about an 11 year old boy named Alex who lives with his father and mother. Alex and his family are Jewish and they are forced to live in a neighborhood called the Warsaw Ghetto with thousands of other Jews. All the Jews are rounded up in to a ghetto to work. If you where not a hard worker or a kid or to old you were sent to the concentrat
1981. Wow, this little youth book is a gem!

So very well done. The author manages to convey a whole lot about the situation in the Warsaw Ghetto after the Nazis took the Jews away -- all through the eyes of a 12 year old boy. He does this masterfully, subtly. No 'lecturing' in this book.

Reading between the lines, you see how the author indirectly explains how it was that this particular child was psychologically able to survive as he did -- the love and support and training he had received from h
Obwohl dieses Buch sehr schön ist, finde ich hier ausnahmsweise mal den Film schöner, den ich schon vor dem Lesen kannte.
Alex, ein 12-Jähriger jüdischer Junge, kämpft im 2. Weltkrieg ganze allein um sein Überleben in einem polnischen Getto. Er muss sich überlegen wie er sich ein sicheres Versteck baut, an Lebensmittel kommt, sein Leben verteidigen kann und dennoch Kind bleiben kann. Während sein Vater noch unterwegs ist, er wurde bei einer Selektion mitgenommen, begleitet Alex nur seine kleine w
Dec 17, 2015 Anushka rated it really liked it
The book I read was The island on Birch street by: Uri Orlev. This book is about a boy named Alex living during World war 2. It shows his journey living by himself in a bombed house for a couple of months. The reason he is living by himself is he escaped from going to the prison camps. His father had told him directions before he helped his son escape. The novel explains how he survives in his horrible conditions. The book was the most thrilling when he passes the wall into Polish territory. The ...more
Jennifer Kaplan
Feb 08, 2016 Jennifer Kaplan rated it really liked it
THE ISLAND ON BIRD STREET remains one of the best books to introduce tweens to the holocaust. The book educates young readers, but does it in a way that is not so disturbing, it robs readers of their own childhoods.

The main character's day to day survival is precarious and readers glimpse the brutality of the ghetto, but still, are not beaten down with the extreme cruelty of this era.

The book is largely a ghetto survival story, where the main character relies on his own ingenuity to survive. In
Apr 15, 2016 Joan rated it liked it
Amazon places the book as suitable for 10 and up for independent reading as a read aloud I think even a Kindergartener could respond to the narrative but 3rd grade and up will be able to connect with the story more fully.

As far as holocaust literature goes it portrays the difficulties a survivor child faced while waiting for his father to come for him and having to live on his own.

A history integration in a palatable form.

Could be paired with the diary of Anne Frank for older readers. Apparent
Linda Humberstone
Apr 16, 2013 Linda Humberstone rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-read
This is a really good teen book although suitable for adult reading too. As Alex, a young boy waits in a bombed out house in the ghetto for his father to come, he becomes a resourceful individual solving many problems involved in hiding from the Nazis; finding food, searching for useful objects that he needs to help him survive safely etc. Most importantly, he watches over the dividing wall monitoring what is happening on the Polish side. The writer does not dwell upon the horror that was happen ...more
Lada Moskalets
Mar 31, 2014 Lada Moskalets rated it really liked it
Про малого Робінзона у Варшавському гетто, який переховується в зруйнованому будинку і бореться проти стихії, лише не природної, а людської. Небезпекою є не шторми, а німці, мародери, інші євреї, що крадуть його їжу. Попри все книжка дуже вдало і тонко написана, майже як пригодницький роман, і за всіма цими таємними драбинами, розмовами з білою мишкою і спілкуванням абеткою Морзе з коханою через вулицю, забуваєш, що це власне війна. І майже відчуваєш затишок комірчини під підвіконням, де Алек чи ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Baoku rated it it was amazing
What Island on Bird Street is about is a boy named Alex who is hiding from British soldiers because British soldiers took Alex's farther away.The characters are Alex's dad,the girl he likes,the bully,and his uncle Boruch. Then he see's a pretty girl who always does her homework at the window.Then he decided to go to the other side one day.Alex's dad thought Alex to use a pistol.This is based on the war with the German and British.I think it was based on the war with the German and British?
Jul 28, 2015 Maja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge*
**A Book You Were Supposed to Read in School but Didn't**

I didn't read this book in school when I was supposed to - but only because I'd already read it. My dad read it aloud to me when I was little. Then we watched the movie together and after that I read it myself. This is one of the books that, though it has been 15-ish years since I last read it, I have never forgotten it. And I was surprised to find that I actually not only remembered the story, but also had
Havana Blues
Jul 22, 2014 Havana Blues rated it really liked it
Holocaust pro desetileté čtenáře. Holocaust jako dobrodružství. Vážně.

Dvanáctiletý Alex, jehož matka zmizela při jedné ze svých cest do jiné části ghetta, je oddělen od svého otce - a protože ten mu slíbil, že se vrátí, čeká Alex v rozbořeném domě, kde si vyrobí skrýš, jakési hnízdo na patře, k němuž už nevedou schody. Výroba provazového žebříku, výpravy za potravou, věrný Pátek v podobě bílé myšky a signalizační systém, za pomoci kterého se domlouvá s holčičkou na "polské straně", v ceně! Jenom
Aug 24, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children aged 8-14,
Recommended to Kate by: Brian
This is an excellent children's book. It is told in first person, and makes for a very compelling read. We are with Alex as he struggles to survive alone, and evade discovery in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. Many of the difficulties he must deal with are very adult, but are told in a way as to be easily accessible to children. I think this book is excellent for anyone interested in a child's point of view of the holocaust, and anyone who liked Anne Frank or Robinson Crusoe.
Apr 20, 2008 Duane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very touching book about a young man who has to grow up quickly due to events beyond his control. Young Alex has to survive on his wits and the knowledge his parents have wisely instilled in him. I like that this World War 2 book doesn't focus so much on the Nazi/Jew hatred, but more on the survival of a boy who doesn't have time to focus on people's hatreds , but rather life or death. A great read for young teens who are interested in history through a child's eyes.
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
The story of 11 year old Alex living with his father in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. His mother has disappeared and soon his father is rounded up by the Nazis. Alex is forced to live in hiding with only his pet mouse as company. Based on Uri Orlev's own childhood experience, The Island on Bird Street is strangely optimistic and a powerful read.

Nicole Thomas
Jul 27, 2015 Nicole Thomas rated it it was amazing
Excellent story- a quick read that stays with you for much longer. Not too intense for 5th grade or higher. Robinson Crusoe like but more engaging with the character so young and determined. A polish boy surviving in the empty ghetto. Historical fiction written by a man who experienced the same situations first hand as a boy in Poland there.
Apr 04, 2011 Danny rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-before-2004
Ah, I'm surprised I found this book -- I didn't remember the title! This is definitely the one. I remember it being about a polish boy who more or less lives on his own in a ghetto (during, of course, World War II). Quality story. I thought it was originally in Polish, but it was translated from the original language, Hebrew.
Jan 04, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
A good introduction to the Holocaust. Most books I've read about the Holocaust focus on concentration camps, this one focuses on a small boy who is hiding in a Polish ghetto waiting for his father to return. It was sprinkled with small details I had never thought to consider - an important aspect to me in any book/conversation/adventure/experience.
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Uri Orlev (Hebrew: אורי אורלב; born Jerzy Henryk Orlowski in 1931) is an award-winning Israeli children's author and translator of Polish-Jewish origin. Born in Warsaw, Poland, he survived the war years in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (where he was sent after his mother was shot by the Nazis). After the war he moved to Israel. He began writing children's literature in ...more
More about Uri Orlev...

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