This resource pack contains reading, writing and drama lesson and activity ideas to help you share John Boyne’s World War II children’s novels The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, in your school or library. The lessons and activities in this pack can be shared and explored in sequence or they can be dipped in and out of, making them easy to tailor to the needs of your class, book group or club. The resource pack could be used when studying English or History with readers aged 10-14.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain each offer a unique perspective on World War II. The stories are rich in history, character and plot. They will provoke discussion and emotion and engage readers with the impact of World War II particularly on children and young people. Covering themes and topics of war, conflict, friendship and redemption, the novels can be explored together or separately.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas focuses on the devastating impact of The Holocaust and is suitable for readers aged 10-14. The story follows Bruno, the son of a concentration camp Commandant. After moving from Berlin to ‘Out-With’ (it is suggested that this is Bruno’s name for Auschwitz), Bruno befriends a young boy living on the opposite side of the fence at the end of his garden. The boy is called Shmuel and much to Bruno’s confusion, is wearing striped pyjamas. During the novel, readers see Bruno and Shmuel’s friendship develop with tragic consequences.
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain explores the power of the Hitler Youth on young people during World War II and is set mainly in Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat - the Berghof. The story could be shared with readers aged 11-14. The main character is young Pierrot who is sent to live with his aunt after the death of his parents. His aunt lives and works at the Berghof where Pierrot soon meets Adolf Hitler and becomes entranced by him and the Hitler Youth. Pierrot’s life then starts to take a dark turn…
John Boyne’s World War II novels are powerful and unforgettable and will provide a rich reading experience for you to share with children and young people.