Parents' Guide to

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Intense, powerful Holocaust book offers unique perspective.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 10+

Powerful and emotional story

This is a beautiful, emotional book. My Gr. 5 teacher read this to my 5/6 class when I was 10 years old. I loved it so much! It is quite saddening but really gives a good understanding of what the Jewish people went through in the Holocaust. The author didn't sugar-coat anything, some parts of the story are incredibly upsetting. The ending is distressing but powerful. It's a great story! I would recommend this for mature 10 year olds and 11 year olds, but really you'll love it if you're any age older than that! Even adult! Wonderful story!

This title has:

Educational value
1 person found this helpful.
age 11+

A quality text for mature kids and early teens

My Year 6 class read this book and enjoyed it, even though it has some serious themes. The book helped many of them to understand more about WW2 and the Holocaust. Students became attached to the characters and thought deeply about the events and character actions. If using this book with 11-13 year olds, care should be taken to read it together to discuss issues and answer questions as they arise. This text was well written from the main character's perspective, which created an innocence amidst the atrocities being described; this made the story both more interesting and more horrifying.

This title has:

Educational value
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16):
Kids say (123):

This powerful book about the Holocaust stands out in part because of the unusual perspective. It's told through the eyes of the 9-year-old son of the commandant at Auschwitz, a boy who has no clue as to what is going on around him. This perspective allows readers to feel a strong sense of foreboding, long before they know the extent of the terror surrounding Bruno's world. Readers will be struck by the contrast between Bruno's normalcy and naivety, and the extreme horrors of the time.

Readers will quickly relate to Bruno, who is uprooted from his home and moved somewhere "nasty and cold" where he has no friends; he is lonely, his sister bugs him, and adults treat him as if he's not there. He wants to study art and read fantasy books rather than history and geography. He wants to get outside and explore. At one point Bruno even covets the life of the boy on the other side of the fence because at least he has other boys with whom he can play.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate