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22gigantes.com - “Much like The Boy In the Striped Pajamas or The Book Thief,” this remarkable memoir from Leon Leyson, one of the youngest children to survive the Holocaust on Oskar Schindler’s list, “brings to readers a story of bravery and the fight for a chance to live” (VOYA).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. 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, 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. Told with an abundance of dignity and a remarkable lack of rancor and venom, The Boy on the Wooden Box is a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read.
Best Review of The Boy On The Wooden Box: How The Impossible Became Possible . . . On Schindler's List:
Most helpful customer reviews 70 of 71 people found the following review helpful. Eloquent and beautiful By ML This is a moving and harrowing account of a family's survival of the Holocaust, thanks to Oskar Schindler's repeated interventions. While the story is riveting, it is told in the voice of the late Leon Leyson which allows the reader to envision the family as they struggle to survive mentally and physically the inhuman conditions, repeated disappointments and loss of family members. His service in the U.S. military and subsequent successful life among family and friends in California is a tribute to his optimism and mental fortitude.In addition to the story which appeals not only to young people, the book is beautifully published. Not least of all are the birds that begin on the front end paper and follow throughout at the beginning of the chapters, until the two remaining fly away on the end paper. This memoir is a work of love. 85 of 88 people found the following review helpful. homeschool review By R. Deboer A great book that lets the reader have a firsthand look at the deep heartache of a Jewish family in WWII. It is detailed enough to break your heart, but not so dark as to terrify my children. I would hand it over to my middle school aged kids and read along with them. The author ends with a great testimony to hope and healing. 39 of 41 people found the following review helpful. An important story revealed to a wider audience By Dzshef K. Having heard the late Mr. Leon Leyson speak on a few occasions, I recall how the straightforwardness of his narrative would draw the listener into the experiences of a boy, who was also a Jew, facing the unfolding oppression of Nazi rule. The book captures his journey of survival, and while presented as a text for young readers, anyone who has read about the Holocaust will find here a deeply engaging story. See all 510 customer reviews...
Amazon.com Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2013: For readers ages 11 and up, Leon Leyson’s remarkable memoir, The Boy on the Wooden Box, is the moving account of a happy childhood shattered by the Holocaust. Leyson was fortunate enough to survive, thanks largely to Oskar Schindler. As the youngest member of Schindler’s list, Leyson offers a unique perspective on the man who became his lifelong hero and his first-hand account of day-to-day existence in the factory--which did not alleviate the fear or deprivation--and his personal interaction with Schindler is powerful and special. The Boy on the Wooden Box is an important work, helping mature young readers understand the Holocaust through the life of a young person who lived it. --Seira Wilson From Booklist This powerful memoir of one of the youngest boys on Schindler’s list deserves to be shared. Leon Leyson grew up in Poland as the youngest of five children. As WWII breaks out, Leyson’s ingenuity and bravery, combined with the kindness of strangers and a bit of serendipity, save his life, time and again. The storytelling can at times meander, and the various reflections of his life in Poland during the war can result in a certain patchiness, but Leyson’s experiences and memories still make for compelling reading about what it was like to suffer through the Holocaust. This memoir is a natural curriculum addition to WWII units for upper-elementary- and middle-school readers. Be sure to have additional materials on hand about Oskar Schindler, as readers will want to do more research into Leyson’s story. Grades 4-7. --Sarah Bean Thompson * “Leyson, who died in January at age 83, was No. 289 on Schindler’s list and its youngest member. He was just 13 when Leyson’s father convinced Oskar Schindler to let “Little Leyson” (as Schindler knew him) and other family members find refuge in the Emalia factory; Leyson was so small he had to stand on a box to work the machinery. Leyson and his coauthors give this wrenching memoir some literary styling, but the book is at its most powerful when Leyson relays the events in a straightforward manner, as if in a deposition, from the shock of seeing his once-proud father shamed by anti-Semitism to the deprivation that defined his youth. Schindler remains a kindly but enigmatic figure in Leyson’s retelling, occasionally doting but usually distant. Leyson makes it clear that being “Schindler Jews” offered a thread of hope, but it never shielded them from the chaos and evil that surrounded them. Readers will close the book feeling that they have made a genuinely personal connection to this remarkable man.” (Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2013, *STARRED REVIEW) * "A posthumous Holocaust memoir from the youngest person on Oskar Schindler’s list. Completed before his death in January 2013, Leyson’s narrative opens with glowing but not falsely idyllic childhood memories of growing up surrounded by friends and relatives in the Polish village of Narewka and then the less intimate but still, to him, marvelous city of Kraków. The Nazi occupation brought waves of persecution and forced removals to first a ghetto and then a labor camp—but since his father, a machinist, worked at the enamelware factory that Schindler opportunistically bought, 14-year-old “Leib” (who was so short he had to stand on the titular box to work), his mother and two of his four older siblings were eventually brought into the fold. Along with harrowing but not lurid accounts of extreme privation and casual brutality, the author recalls encounters with the quietly kind and heroic Schindler on the way to the war’s end, years spent at a displaced-persons facility in Germany and at last emigration to the United States. Leyson tacks just a quick sketch of his adult life and career onto the end and closes by explaining how he came to break his long silence about his experiences. Family photos (and a picture of the famous list with the author’s name highlighted) add further personal touches to this vivid, dramatic account. Significant historical acts and events are here put into unique perspective by a participant." (Kirkus s, August 1, 2013, *STARRED REVIEW) “Tragic remembrances of war's sufferings often go untold. However, if we are to "study war no more" we need to hear them. After long silence Leon Leyson has written his World War II memoir. I am an African American veteran of World War II. I survived the invasion of Normandy. Leon Leyson's story returned me to a time when the life of each step could be one's last. THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX is a heartbreaking story that ends, mercifully, with a heart restored." (Ashley Bryan, multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, and former GI.) * “Leyson, who died in January at age 83, was No. 289 on Schindler’s list and its youngest member. He was just 13 when Leyson’s father convinced Oskar Schindler to let “Little Leyson” (as Schindler knew him) and other family members find refuge in the Emalia factory; Leyson was so small he had to stand on a box to work the machinery. Leyson and his coauthors give this wrenching memoir some literary styling, but the book is at its most powerful when Leyson relays the events in a straightforward manner, as if in a deposition, from the shock of seeing his once-proud father shamed by anti-Semitism to the deprivation that defined his youth. Schindler remains a kindly but enigmatic figure in Leyson’s retelling, occasionally doting but usually distant. Leyson makes it clear that being “Schindler Jews” offered a thread of hope, but it never shielded them from the chaos and evil that surrounded them. Readers will close the book feeling that they have made a genuinely personal connection to this remarkable man.” (Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2013, *STARRED REVIEW)
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