Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” as Want to Read:
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

(The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  691,527 ratings  ·  32,332 reviews
If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter one.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by David Fickling Books (first published 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Angela It depends on the child. Some 13 year olds might not be mature enough for it, but I just read this book with my newly 12 year old after coming across …moreIt depends on the child. Some 13 year olds might not be mature enough for it, but I just read this book with my newly 12 year old after coming across it in the YA section of the library. He is an advanced reader and very mature for his age but instead of just handing it to him, we read it together so that we could have discussions along the way. He is a 6th grader and familiar with the Holocaust - not all the details, but he understands the 'big picture'. This book gave him a little bit deeper understanding and more to think about which I appreciate.

The story is told from the perspective of Bruno, a 9 year old German boy, so it alluded to the sufferings he saw, but it never goes into detail because Bruno doesn't understand exactly what he is seeing. He just knows that he enjoys the friend he has made from behind the barbed wire fence. Along the way he learns he is Jewish and that they are being kept 'separated' but he doesn't understand why.

When the Author was asked if the book was written for children or adults, he says he didn't write it for one or the other - he just wrote a book. He doesn't put it into a 'category', but the Publishers have put into the YA category. I found that interesting because it doesn't fit neatly into any category.

The movie version follows the book very closely, but it is much more disturbing as it shows physical violence. Again, the book only alludes to the violence and injustices, but it never shows them. I recommend the book for most Middle School aged kids, and if a parent reads with, them, all the better.
Vonda Gardner The movie left a huge impression on me. That was why I read the book. It was easier to follow & understand. It is an important story, no matter the fo…moreThe movie left a huge impression on me. That was why I read the book. It was easier to follow & understand. It is an important story, no matter the format. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  691,527 ratings  ·  32,332 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Nov 06, 2007 rated it did not like it
I hardly know where to begin bashing this book. Do I start with the 9-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, who read about 6 and 8, respectively? The imperial measurements (miles, feet) despite the German setting? The German boy, raised in Berlin, who thinks that Der Führer is "The Fury" and Auschwitz is "Out-With," despite being corrected several times and seeing it written down? The other English-language idioms and mis-hearings, despite our being told that he speaks only German? And that h ...more
Jun 20, 2013 rated it did not like it
"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" would easily top my list of "Worst Books about the Holocaust."

I am writing as one who was there -- I was once myself a boy in striped pajamas and am a survivor of six German concentration camps. This book is so ignorant of historical facts about concentration camps that it kicks the history of the Holocaust right in the teeth.

John Boyne's premise is that the nine-year old son of the commandant of Auschwitz, bored with his isolated life, takes walks to the fence s
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

I didn't love this, but I did appreciate the fact that it had a very powerful message (and an ending I wasn't expecting at all). My feelings were definitely changed by the fact that the author describes the story as a fable. The abstractness makes a lot more sense in that way. Definitely an unforgettable read, nonetheless!
As Michael Kors once sighed to a clueless designer on Project Runway: Where do I start?

Let's open with some descriptive words that sum up this book, and I will then go on to explain them in further detail: Patronizing. Insipid. Smarmy. Just plain bad.

Patronizing: I believe that to write good children's literature, you have to think that children are intelligent, capable human beings who are worth writing for - like Stephen King, who probably thinks kids are smarter than adults. The author of T
Federico DN
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two innocent boys, and two very different worlds, separated by a not so infallible fence.

Berlin 1942, middle of WWII, beginnings of the Holocaust. Bruno is a little boy of barely nine years old, son of a very well standing german family. His life passes relatively uneventful until one day his father is appointed commander in a faraway region. Bruno, his sister Gretel and his parents are compelled to relocate to Out-With, to a much smaller house, forsaking family and friends, and sacrificing ever
I seriously suggest you read about what happened to real children in the Holocaust. It won't fill your thoughts for many days or shock you; rather it will fill your LIFE and make you feel sick to the core of your being.

Paul Friedlander, himself a survivor, recounts in his recent highly praised book the incident of 90 Jewish infants all under the age of five, orphaned after their parents were murdered in a mass shooting.
These children were subjected to indescribable mistreatment for days.
Then the
Jul 18, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw the film version at the cinema, the entire audience remained in their seats and sobbed into tissues as the credits rolled. I’ve never experienced anything like it since. With John Boyne finally releasing a much-anticipated sequel, I figured it was about time I read this!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a simple, yet powerful fable-like story. It was a quick read, but one that will remain with me, and one which I’m still thinking about. This is definitely a book that pulls at the hear
A powerful concept, but very poorly written (even allowing for the young adult target audience) - and one of a tiny number of books I can think of that was better in the film version.


Bruno is 9 and lives in Berlin in 1943 with his parents and 12 year old sister. They are wealthy and his father is an important soldier who is promoted to be the Commandant at Auschwitz. The trick of the story is that Bruno doesn't realise the horror of what goes on behind the barbed wire, where everyone wears s
Reading_ Tamishly
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
"When he closed his eyes, everything around him just felt empty and cold, as if he was in the loneliest place in the world. The middle of nowhere."

*May 2021 Re-read

One of the worst fictional sister characters. Gretel, you're really annoying. Exactly a Hopeless Case.

Maria's character is memorable. She's grateful and I really appreciate such characters in stories.

But you know the most memorable character in the entire story is? The one who peels potatoes. Pavel. I will always have a soft spot for
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
quick reread because, lets face it, im high-key obsessed with john boyne. this is my seventh JB book in less than a month. when i hit my tenth, someone please stage an intervention. lol.

i first read this years ago, so i forgot just how innocent the perspective of this story is. which i think makes it even more haunting. we, as humans, are not born with hatred; its something we learn and acquire throughout life. and what a horrible thing that is. to see how carefree a child can be in the most hor
Aug 02, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Very slowly he turned his head back to look at Shmuel, who wasn't crying anymore, merely staring at the floor and looking as if he was trying to convince his soul not to live inside his tiny body anymore, but to slip away and sail to the door and rise up into the sky, gliding through the clouds until it was very far away.''

Nine year old Bruno has to leave his home in Berlin and move with his family to a place called Out-With for his father's new job. Bruno is terribly homesick and he starts
Sep 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
There are plenty of insightful reviews on this piece of sensationalist, badly written, idiotic Disneyfication of the Holocaust on Goodreads. I don't have anything to add to the criticism, except that I would love to see it taken off the curriculum in schools.

Here are my replacement suggestions:

Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw

And of course for more mature students, I recommend Anne Fran
David Putnam
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this book although not as much as some others. It’s a gruesome and sad topic told through the point of view of an innocent little boy a great concept and expertly executed. The author does a wonderful job in the voice of the young boy. The language and syntax are adult with enough smatterings of the child’s perceptions and reflections and word choice to make it real. Excellent, job here. The author also doesn’t beat the reader over head with descriptions or facts and gives a great de ...more
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is truly an amazing yet daunting novel that I will never forget. The author John Boyne did a masterful job of depicting the setting in such vivid detail and exposing the events in a manner that I felt a constant emotional pull as the story unfolded and impending doom lingered on the horizon.

I was recommended this novel a while back while reading The Book Thief, but after finishing that story and experiencing such deep sadness, I knew I couldn’t jump into another no
Nandakishore Mridula

Lincoln's doctor's dog. An archaic reference in the publishing industry to the notion that the way to ensure a book is a bestseller is to write about Lincoln, dogs, or doctors. This prompted one author to title his book which is about publishing in the 1930s Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog.

- From

Maybe Lincoln, doctors and dogs have gone out of fashion; but children, the Holocaust and friendship are still the rage. So the sure-fire formula for creating a bestseller is to write a story
Nov 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'll give it this much. Few books have caused me to actually shake SHAKE in anger. Wow. I think I need to go boil my eyeballs for a while. What was the author thinking? ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne

Bruno is a 9-year-old boy growing up during World War II in Berlin. He lives with his parents, his 12-year-old sister Gretel and maids, one of whom is called Maria. After a visit by Adolf Hitler, Bruno's father is promoted to Commandant, and the family has to move to "Out-With" because of the orders of "The Fury" (Bruno's naive interpretation of the word "Führer").

Bruno is initially upset about moving to Out-With (in actuality, Auschwitz) and leaving hi
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful little gem of a book… best described by the Guardian - "A small wonder of a book… A Particular historical moment, one that cannot be told too often."
Inside Auschwitz, from the viewpoint of the Commandant's nine year old son, and the amazing friendship he has with another boy, a boy in striped pajamas. 8 out of 12.

2012 read
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a Holocaust “fable” by the Irish writer John Boyne, in which a nine-year-old German boy named Bruno arrives at Auschwitz (or as the novel coyly and annoyingly calls it “Out-With”) when his father is named as the camp’s new commandant. Bruno is incredibly naïve (to the point where I began to wonder whether he might not be mentally retarded, in which case he would most likely have been murdered under the Nazi euthanasia program long before the timeline of the book ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have actually sat for five full minutes gazing at a blank page and wondering what to say about this book. Words don't usually fail me!
It does of course deal with a very painful and shocking part of our history and there are criticisms about some alterations to the true facts. However The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is obviously intended for the younger end of the young adult range and the presentation needs to be fairly simplistic. Boyne himself describes it as a fable, that is a fiction story
Al Bità
Mar 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
There is nothing to learn from this book. There is much to dislike. From certain perspectives, it can even be said to be detestable.

First of all, there is the authorial conceit that the work is written from the perspective of a child. The worst example of this come in the use of euphemisms for the Fuhrer ('the Fury') and for Auschwitz ('Out With') which become increasingly irritating as the work progresses. Bruno's 'difficulty' with these words is somehow supposed to charm us, and apparently giv
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Evolution of Reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas



I read this book back in circa 800 AD before online reviews were a thang. I figured since I'm trying to read every Boyne book I should reread this one. Thanks a lot, Self.
Julia Miller
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am bawling my eyes out. John Boyne, thank you for writing this. ❤️ I‘ve read many books about the Holocaust (I‘m German so I have been confronted with this topic from very early on) and this is by far my favorite one. I love the bond Schmuel and Bruno share and Bruno‘s innocence. While reading some particular scene I‘ve felt terribly guilty of what my country once has done. I wish I could undo all the horrible things that happened to innocent people ( including all people who were affected by ...more
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.

Since I am the last of the 4.357 gagillion readers out there to read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I won’t rehash what can be read in the blurb and I’m going to limit my review to the few points I found to be most important.

This is a YA novel and the easy, simple way in which it is written really punctuates one of the main themes; the innocence and naiveté of children.

At times I felt Bruno was a bit of a spoiled turd. I then felt gui
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“What exactly was the difference? He wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”

★ I picked this because I heard a lot of good things about the author’s writing and I like the book’s name but I did not know what it is about. I did not even read the synopsis!

★ The writing was light hearted and I think having the book revolving about Bruno was a great idea! The innocence of the young d
jv poore
I added this to my To-Read list when a couple of students requested it, then Boy began to read it. Whenever he put it down, I picked it up because Buno is the perfect narrator to pull any reader right in. It's impossible not to adore him in his blissful ignorance.

Part of me wished he could live in his bubble forever, while another part wanted to explain exactly what was going down. No part of me properly anticipated how the story would end.
this is the very last book i have left with absolutely no review, and i didn't quite know what to say about it, so i checked out other reviews.

now i know:
read Peter's.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Shannon (kitchandpages)
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story. I'm glad I finally read it. It's taken me years to pick it up and watching the movie last month gave me the nudge to finally read it. Actually seeing it was worse (in the movie) in terms of heartbreak and devastation. Such a powerful read, but not for the faint of heart. ...more
What a remarkable story!
This is a great work of fiction and a heartbreaking one.
And, as any fiction book, it does not require accuracy. Yes, the book is not flawless, but the author’s ability to tell a story is.
The story is based on the perspective of a 9 years old German boy who has no idea what is happening around him and in the world.
Why some readers have/had a hard time understanding (and even feel/felt offended by) that this is a fiction and that the author never claimed that these were tr
“Bruno had read enough books about explorers to know that one could never be sure what one was going to find. Most of the time they came across something interesting that was just sitting there, minding its own business, waiting to be discovered (such as America). Other times they discovered something that was probably best left alone (like a dead mouse at the back of a cupboard).”

A remarkable, simply told ‘fable’, as the title says – a parable about a boy who realises if he wants answers to h
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Book Thief
  • Number the Stars
  • The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Wonder (Wonder, #1)
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #1)
  • The Little Prince
  • The Help
  • The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Outsiders
  • Holes (Holes, #1)
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Giver (The Giver, #1)
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Paper Towns
  • Animal Farm
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. In 2015, I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.

I’ve published 13 novels for adults, a short story collection, and 6 novels for younger readers, including The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas which was a New York Times no.1 Bestseller an

Other books in the series

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2 books)
  • All the Broken Places (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas #2)

Articles featuring this book

Looking for a new book? November's new releases are sure to dominate your reading plans, with favorite authors including George R.R. Martin,...
26 likes · 12 comments
“Sitting around miserable all day won't make you any happier.” 514 likes
“...Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.” 374 likes
More quotes…