Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orlev, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Run, Boy, Run

Run, Boy, Run

4.1 13
by Uri Orlev

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“'Srulik, there’s no time. I want you to remember what I’m going to tell you. You have to stay alive. You have to! Get someone to teach you how to act like a Christian, how to cross yourself and pray. . . . The most important thing, Srulik,' he said, talking fast, 'is to forget your name. Wipe it from your memory. . . . But even if you forget


“'Srulik, there’s no time. I want you to remember what I’m going to tell you. You have to stay alive. You have to! Get someone to teach you how to act like a Christian, how to cross yourself and pray. . . . The most important thing, Srulik,' he said, talking fast, 'is to forget your name. Wipe it from your memory. . . . But even if you forget everything—even if you forget me and Mama—never forget that you’re a Jew.'"

And so, at only eight years old, Srulik Frydman says goodbye to his father for the last time and becomes Jurek Staniak, an orphan on the run in the Polish countryside at the height of the Holocaust. With the danger of capture by German soldiers ever-present, Jurek must fight against starvation, the punishing Polish winters, and widespread anti-Semitism as he desperately searches for refuge. Told with the unflinching honesty and unique perspective of such a young child, Run, Boy, Run is the extraordinary account of one boy’s struggle to stay alive in the face of almost insurmountable odds—a story all the more incredible because it is true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Orlev (The Island on Bird Street), an award-winning writer and Holocaust survivor who now lives in Israel, devotes this memorable novel to the extraordinary true story of an orphaned Jewish boy's experiences in Poland during the war. As in most such tales, eight-year-old Srulik's account combines encounters with the unfathomably cruel and the genuinely charitable. Readers who have some familiarity with Holocaust memoirs will not be surprised by stunning coincidences and improbable events; others may grasp that survival against nearly insuperable odds depended on not one but many unlikely twists of fate. For example, Srulik-who escapes from the Warsaw Ghetto toward the beginning of the novel, survives in the forest, works for farmers and learns to pass for Christian-is later turned in to the Nazis and runs away; when he finds work again, his new boss brings him to town to register him (for the benefit of increased rations) and unwittingly delivers Srulik back to the same Nazi officer who had interrogated him. But the officer, who knows Srulik is Jewish, doesn't arrest him; rather, he sends him to work for his girlfriend. Later, when Srulik's arm is mangled on the job, a Polish doctor refuses to operate because Srulik is a Jew, and Srulik's arm must eventually be amputated. Srulik's response typifies his reactions throughout: he doesn't have the luxury of assessing his losses, or mourning them, he simply figures out how to manage with what he has left. It is this perspective-authentic, childlike and wrenching-that will pierce the audience's heart. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Award-winning author, Uri Orlev, vividly portrays the life of nine year old Jurek Staniak. The story unfolds during the atrocities of World War II when eight year old Srulik Friedman speaks a final goodbye to his father who begs the young boy "to find someone to teach you to act like a Christian." Jurek is now alone and on the run in the Polish countryside. His adventures and instincts teach him to steal, lie and run to stay alive. Hiding his real identity, he becomes dependent on himself and sometimes on others to stay alive. Jurek lives with a gang of boys who teach him how to survive. Poor farmers help him at times and in one horrible incident the boy actually loses his arm because a Polish doctor refuses to operate on him because he is a Jew. It is a bleak story but compelling. Similar to Spinell's Milkweed, it is a story about survival, horror and the struggle of the human spirit to survive at all costs during a dangerous and hard to understand period in history. This book is one that belongs on the shelf in any library media center and in intermediate and middle school classroom libraries. 2003, Houghton Mifflin Co, Ages 9 to 12.
—Sue Reichard
Srulik, an eight-year-old Jewish boy, manages to escape the Warsaw Ghetto and spends the next few years struggling to survive in the Polish countryside, which is occupied by the Nazis. He sees his father killed, learns to be a thief from a group of boys, is taught to pass as a Christian, works for farm families both kind and cruel, and endures near-starvation in the forest. Anti-Semitism is rampant; when his arm is mangled in an accident, a doctor refuses to attend to him, and the arm must be amputated when gangrene develops. Ever resourceful, the boy survives the loss and learns to cope with his disability. The often-horrifying episodes in Srulik's desperate existence are related in short, matter-of-fact sentences, heightening both the awfulness and the grim reality of his experiences for the reader. Orlev, a Holocaust survivor and author of The Island on Bird Street and other novels for young readers about the Holocaust, based this novel on the incredible but true childhood experiences of a fellow survivor, as he explains in an epilogue. The novel has obvious relevance for studies of the Holocaust, for readers not quite ready for Elie Wiesel's Night, or for those who want to know what it was like for Jews who managed to avoid the concentration camps. KLIATT Codes: J-Recommended for junior high school students. 2003, Houghton Mifflin, 192p., Ages 12 to 15.
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Based on true-life experiences, this survival story about a Jewish boy in Warsaw during World War II reverberates with courage and determination. It begins when Srulik is eight years old. As he emerges from a garbage can after foraging for scraps to eat, he discovers that his mother has disappeared. He is alone in a world filled with danger. He begins his struggle to survive without any bravura, just an unspoken decision that he will do whatever is necessary. This is his single-minded focus; he expends little energy bemoaning his fate. He acts on his father's advice not to let others know that he is Jewish as he is taken in by families, works on farms, hides out in the forest, and narrowly escapes discovery. Even after he is wounded and loses an arm, he perseveres and teaches himself to do things that normally require two arms. Though his character lacks emotional depth, the story is totally engrossing as it vividly describes the hardships faced by so many youngsters during the war. Orlev has once again successfully used historical fiction to illustrate the Holocaust experience.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Based on a true story, this tale of one Jewish orphan's survival during the Holocaust boggles the imagination. Srulik, separated from his parents in the Warsaw ghetto at the age of 9, begins an odyssey that takes him into the Polish countryside, where he must literally remake himself to survive. A brief, surreal reunion with his father in a potato field results in his father's death and his transformation into Jurek, a Polish Catholic orphan. In this identity, he wanders from village to village, finding temporary refuge with farmers, partisans, a lonely German soldier, and, incredibly, a Gestapo officer-losing an arm along the way, but always surviving on a combination of quick wits and determination. Orlev tells his tale with few flourishes, the straightforward narration oddly unemotional; it is through Srulik/Jurek's actions that the reader divines his inner state, not narrative revelation. As declarative sentence leads to declarative sentence, the story marches to its conclusion, Srulik/Jurek's ultimate inability to sort out his own fact from the fiction he has been living speaking quiet volumes. Mesmerizing and memorable. (Fiction. 10 )
From the Publisher
"The novel has obvious relevance fro studies of the Holocaust." KLIATT 11/01/07 KLIATT

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Sales rank:
570L (what's this?)
File size:
119 KB
Age Range:
14 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The novel has obvious relevance fro studies of the Holocaust." KLIATT 11/01/07 KLIATT

Meet the Author

Uri Orlev was born in Warsaw in 1931. In 1996, Uri Orlev received the the highest international recognition given to an author of children’s books. He now lives in Jerusalem.

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