Gemma
Gemma asked:

Would this book be alright for an eleven year old?

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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 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.
Laurie P. I would say no to that. First, a great deal of it would go over his/her head, as it does the head of the 9-year-old protagonist. You need to read it with an understanding of WW2 and the Holocaust. Secondly, the ending is hugely disturbing, and I think an 11-year-old is going to be upset by it.

I'm an elementary school counselor, if that gives me any credibility on this subject. :-)
Gemma Iris ✨ I read this when I was 11
Pat The book jacket states clearly that the book is not meant for children. It is a very difficult emotional ending. You need to understand the horrors that went on in the Nazi death camps. Perhaps an older middle school student could be exposed to this with the help of the teacher, but it is very disturbing. On the other hand these kinds of stories and the history behind them need to be understood so that the younger generation realizes the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism, and fascism. The author wants the reader to understand that walls still exist between people: "After all, only the victims and survivors can truly comprehend the awfulness of that time and place; the rest of us live on the other side of the fence, staring through from our own comfortable place, trying in our own clumsy ways to make sense of it all."
Annie Yes, if the child is an advanced reader and also knows something about the holocaust.
My 11 year old read it recently and we had a good discussion afterwards.
Eliza Abady I would say yes. I am 12 and just finished this book. It has deep feelings and the reader really has to pay attention to detail but i think a 11 year old could read this
Shyanna No way, it has a lot of horror in it, it is emotional. If your 11 year old acts like a 8th grader than probably. Because you have the read the book, and watch the movie in 8th grade.
Katherine Chen It really depends, but I would say probably. I read this when I was 12 and highly enjoyed this book, but there are materials about the Holocaust and there is quite a startling tragedy at the end! So it depends on the 11 year old.
Amanda No I'm 14 and it was a really hard and sad book to read. It is very sad and little kids shouldn't read it until they are older
Libby itr depends on the 11 year old, but it is probably to traumatizing for them
Lucas Hammond no you . ooooffff
Spring I think it would be yes and not appropriate for the eleven year old because some people think things or take stuff in the wrong way and talk about it. If the eleven year old wants to watch it/ read it I would let them on there own will..
Samantha C I think that an eleven year old could read it.
Johnny Ravioli YES!!! I was 12 when I read it, and I loved it
Maddy I read it when I was 11, and I still understood and enjoyed it.
Matthew Haslett probably, yes, although there are a few sad parts
Cyndie Smith I know this question has already been answered, but I am adding my opinion for what it is worth. I just had my 14 year old niece and my 13 year old daughter read this because their schools require it and it has extremely upset them both. I fail to see what reading stories like these can possibly have to promote in positivity for our young people who already faced dark issues in every day life without having graphic images shoved down their throats and leave them with haunting images that can scar them because socially and emotionally they are NOT ready for them.
Rosemary Please don't brainwash your children.
Kenzie Rae I read this first when I was thirteen, and I enjoyed it, although the ending can definitely be traumatizing for those who do not know about the Holocaust or are not mature enough to handle what the book talks about.
Peter Dambiec No, because it has a strong leaning toward two boys developing a homosexual relationship. Furthermore the author is a homosexual and this is to be expected in his writing.
Brandon Rueb It depends on their reading level. I'm a fourth grade teacher (9 and 10 year olds) and I'm currently reading them the book. Now, we read some informational articles about the Holocaust before hand and talked about some of the details, which has helped their understanding a whole lot. They've been incredibly receptive and engaged in the story, which has led to a lot of really quality discussions and introducing them to a part of our history that they weren't familiar with.
Sam Leahy It depends. I'm 11 years old and my mom watched the movie. She recommended the book to me since I read and know a lot about the Holocaust. The ending can be disturbing for some people. My friend is 11 and she asked me about the ending because she didn't want to really read the book. I told her the ending and she was disturbed by it. So I go back to my point. It depends on the type of person.
Claire I read it when I was 9
Jarrin yes it would because I read it when I was 10
Margaret Mae My 11 year old niece is reading this for a school project, so it should be fine.
Orion Ryder I read this novel back when I was 13. It is appropriate for younger ages, and it helps one understand the horrors that occurred during this period. Then again, it depends on the reader. Some portions of the book are heavy, and upsetting. Inappropriate for the age group, no, but this novel is based on real events that happened in history. Although the characters are not all based on real people, the idea that these things happened with the death camps and such, is disturbing. It all depends on the reader.
Ruby I read it in English class in yr7 (6th grade) So yeah it would be ok for most 11 year olds
Kris Volnero Honestly I read this book in third grade when my cousin (who was in 8th grade at the time) recommended it to me. I guess I didn't understand THAT much when I was a third grader, even though I had a high school reading level (okay yes I was practically a bookworm in third grade it's crazy). I read the Hunger Games in third grade too lol and that was way more violent, but The Boy in Striped Pajamas wasn't too violent or anything. I would just worry that some of its themes are too difficult to understand for an eleven year old. Otherwise, the writing, I believe, is not too tough, but I haven't picked up the book in a while so...
Malcolm In my opinion, yes because it is told from the POV of a naive 9 year old, and there is no bad stuff, so I think yes, I enjoyed the book throughout.
Eshika I'm pretty sure it is. There is no "bad stuff" in the book. The book is told from a 9 year olds POV too so I think a 11 year old can read it just fine.
Mary Seraphina I'm a teacher and I see absolutely no reason why you can't teach this book in schools. 11-year-olds nowadays are NOT at all the same as 11-year-olds when we were growing up. They are far more technology-savvy, and they have access to 100x the information I had access to at university.

Do not underestimate the maturity of today's 11-year-olds! They are exposed to 20x the amount of news compared to us in out childhoods. Therefore, this story is highly appropriate in 2022,while the Ukraine war is raging on and I would draw a comparison between how Hollywood films depict war and the reality of war, the suffering, the injustices, the war crimes, the genocide.

A parent's role, including their teachers, is to teach right from wrong and the consequences of wrong actions as well as the cost of doing nothing. This one of the central lessons in the book
Pastel Yes, I think so. It did not have a single, descriptive violence, nor did it have any inappropriate (for kids) romantic scenes. It was on of the books where there is the least violence and it is a safe read for an eleven years old. But it also depends on the child
Kerri I read it in 6th grade, so I would say that it is a good book for 11 year olds
Smoke
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Aly I would think so, I'm rather young and I was assigned questions about this book for homework.
Cath Fawley The book is quite easy to read, but I would STRONGLY discourage young readers (actually, any reader who has very few knowledge about Nazi German and the Holocaust) to read it. It's highly inaccurate, and since it's told from Bruno's (the young German boy) point of view, it ends up being very far from what a book dealing with such a topic and meant for young readers should tell and teach.
Katy M I know someone who had to read it for school when she was 11 or 12.
Nikolai I read it at 10 so i would say yes though it does contain upsetting parts in it
Nathaniel Winston Oh, yeah, it's prose is very easy to understand without being patronizingly simple.

If your 11 year old is OK with very personal drama they could easily find this very powerful and relate easily to Bruno's frustration with the absurd authoritarianism of adults.

If they're just in it for the genocide then they may be disappointed with the very interpersonal first half.

This book definitely feels written for a child or someone for whom the holocaust is still something fresh and exotic but I am saying as someone enjoying this in my mid twenties.
Grace I read this book in 5th grade for school when I was younger this book is fine for all ages
Isabel anfield i think it's amazing and i do prefer the movie i;m sorry and please could u all take a min to subscribe to me i'm magicfox89 or magicsquirrrle i down't relly know
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