This book surprised me. I'd heard about the story because the movie was recently out. When I saw the premise for the movie, I was thinking to myself,This book surprised me. I'd heard about the story because the movie was recently out. When I saw the premise for the movie, I was thinking to myself, "Come on! A German boy making friends with a Jewish kid while the two of them sit Indian-style on opposite sides of an unsupervised concentration camp's barbed wire fence? Really?" Boy, was I wrong! The story actually worked brilliantly. The end left me breathless. That was as unexpected of an ending as I've read in any story.
“A boy of about ten came running along the pavement. He was very pale, and so scared that he forgot to take his cap off to a German policeman coming t“A boy of about ten came running along the pavement. He was very pale, and so scared that he forgot to take his cap off to a German policeman coming towards him. The German stopped, drew his revolver without a word, put it to the boy’s temple and shot. The child fell to the ground, his arms flailing, went rigid and died. The policeman calmly put the revolver back in its holster and went on his way.”
As sickening and infuriating as it is to read about horrific and cowardly acts like the one above, the reality is that the tragic end of this boy’s life is only one in a disheartening spectrum of millions that occurred during the Holocaust. Not just innocence lost, but innocence taken. In “The Pianist,” Wladyslaw Szpilman describes in detail the growing grim of unfolding events that robbed countless Jewish and “non-Aryan” families of dignity, love, and life that those living in freedom take for granted daily.
On the loss of freedom: “I was aware of being torn irrevocably from everything that had made up my life up until now. I did not know what awaited me, only that it was sure to be as bad as I imagined.”
On the loss of material possessions: “In this new world, where everything that had been of permanent value a month ago was destroyed, the simplest things, things you hardly noticed before, took on enormous significance…”
On the loss of family: “The very first night there I had a dream that utterly discouraged me. It seemed to be the final confirmation of my assumptions about the fate of my family. I dreamed of my brother Henryk, who came up to me, leaned over my bed and said, ‘We are dead now.’”
While any Holocaust-related book has a good chance of ripping your heart out from page one, Sender's pointed, fast-moving delivery of the horrific timWhile any Holocaust-related book has a good chance of ripping your heart out from page one, Sender's pointed, fast-moving delivery of the horrific times she and her loved ones endured amplified the emotional pain of reading this firsthand account of unfathomable monstrosities. With each sentence, I could hear the cries for help of the millions of Jews whose lives were systemically destroyed during Hitler's ultimate showcase of incessant racism gone mad. Sender's own real-life strength, courage and will to survive in the face of history's worst evil made me think of William Wallace's (i.e. Mel Gibson's) final cry of "FREE-DOM!!!" at the end of Braveheart. Just chilling. This story makes you want to put it down and hug your loved ones between every chapter. For me, that's the message that seemed to jump out more than any other. Take nothing for granted. Not family. Not friends. Not freedom....more
About the Holocaust, one question that comes up a lot is, "Why didn't more of the German people stand up for what was right, and go against Hitler's wAbout the Holocaust, one question that comes up a lot is, "Why didn't more of the German people stand up for what was right, and go against Hitler's wishes?" The Boy Who Dared is about a teenage German citizen who first falls in love with the idea of becoming a Nazi soldier, but injustice by injustice his suspicions of Hitler's intentions and ill-treatment of Jews grew, and when he tried to take a stand against Hitler's lies, the outcome wasn't pleasant for him.
As a teacher living in freedom-blessed, democratic America, it is easy to denounce what happened during the Holocaust but this story illustrates to students why fighting back against Hitler wasn't as easy in reality as it sounds like in principle.
This book was recently chosen as a 2010-2011 Sunshine State Book. Even before that announcement, I thought highly enough of this book to purchase a class set to use as part of a Holocaust unit. Having used books in the past like Spinelli's "Milkweed" and Strasser's "The Wave," I thought my students would really enjoy this story. I was disappointed that a majority of the response that I got was that The Boy Who Dared IS BORING! As I explained to students, the purpose of this story is not to entertain and make kids scream "I LOVE READING!" but to educate young readers as to what it was like living in Nazi Germany during the time of the Holocaust. To that end, I feel The Boy Who Dares succeeds.
"Entangled in carnage and debris, boxed in by the walls of the trench and the bottom of the tank, I lay there wondering what to do, too frightened to"Entangled in carnage and debris, boxed in by the walls of the trench and the bottom of the tank, I lay there wondering what to do, too frightened to do anything. I wanted someone to help me, to talk to me, as my mother would, and tell me what to do. I looked for help, and saw only the dead."
I've been reading so many books about the Holocaust and I thought that's what the focus of this book would be, too. It turned out to be more of a story about a German soldier during WWII, and what it was like - and I mean, LITERALLY, what is was like - to fight, lose and then survive when the official battles had ended but rogue offenses waged on. The battle scenes were just so heavy and graphic (i.e., real), I don't think I can read another page about war for a long time to come. I think of my beloved brother in Baghdad and of the millions of soldiers on all sides of every war past, present and future, and I just feel an immense sense of loss, sadness and fury that human beings have never and will never peacefully coexist. Peace seems so simple, yet so very far away....more
No matter how many times the horrors of the Holocaust are recounted, one can't help but feel disgust and disbelief atA 2009-2010 Sunshine State Book.
No matter how many times the horrors of the Holocaust are recounted, one can't help but feel disgust and disbelief at the fact that it happened at all. In this quick and easy-to-read story dedicated to the 1.5 million kids and babies killed at the hands of Hitler's murderers, a former German soldier who winds up becoming a ventriloquist after WWII winds first sees his right-hand puppet as a tool to entertain but eventually gets from it much more than he bargained for. ...more