Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Boy on the Wooden Box

Leyson, Leon.  The Boy on the Wooden Box : A Memoir by Leon Leyson.  NY: Atheneum, c2013.  225 pages.

From the publisher: Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List.

This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s List child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Most notable is the lack of rancor, the lack of venom, and the abundance of dignity in Mr. Leyson’s telling. The Boy on the Wooden Boxis a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read.

From Mrs. Belknap:  This touching story adds a new layer of awareness about the hardships endured by Holocaust survivors.  Mr. Leyson and most of his family were among the lucky ones who lived, but lucky is not a word to describe the conditions they lived through.  It is important that we know about stories like this one so it never happens again.

This biography is on the Iowa Teen Award reading list for 2015-2016.  It is recommended for junior high and above.

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