James B.’s Letter Essay #5: Prisoner B-3087



I have recently finished reading Prisoner B-3087 a 272 page Historical Fiction novel by Alan Gratz. The book takes place in Poland during the 1930 when the Nazis have taken over Poland and killed and sent Jews to concentration camps all over. Alan Gratz has also written the exhilarating book, Code of Honor. Alan Gratz’s writing is very similar in both books because in both books they are about war and hardships that the two main characters have to overcome to save their loved ones and themselves. I also like his writing a lot is because he describes the character very well in the beginning and by the end they are a totally different character because they have changed who they are because of the things that they have done and the accomplishments that they have made.


I chose to read this book because when I had originally seen it I knew that it was the same author that wrote Code of Honor which I really enjoyed. I also chose this book because it was about the Nazis and the Jews which I knew a little bit about but I wanted to know more about the topic so I read it.


In the novel, 10 year old Yanek is living his life in Krakow, Poland as a Jewish boy read for is Bar Mitzvah, until the Nazis invade the city and start taking Jews to concentration camps. Yanek and his family gave their apartment building to another family to live in a small chicken coop on the roof of the building where hopefully the Nazis wouldn’t find them. Yanek’s life was totally normal, he went to school, played with friends, ate dinner with his family, until the Nazis came and took them. Now Yanek is all by himself and does not know what to do. Soon after catching his parents, Yanek is caught and sent to a concentration camp where all day all they do is work and work. People are shot for looking at the guards the wrong way and not working hard enough or sometimes, no reason at all. Moving around from multiple concentration camps with no name other than a tattoo reading B-3087 and having no idea if his family was still alive Yanek works everyday as hard as he can. Will Yanek find his family or gain his freedom as a Jewish boy? Read the book Prisoner B-3087 to find out if Yanek will survive.


I’d say that the theme of this book is to never give up no matter what is happening in your life. I think this because no matter what Yanek had to do or how many places he had to go he never gave up to die he kept going. I wish that in the end his parents were still alive because I think that it would have been an awesome end for the character and it would be cool for the reader to see that Yanek and his parents stayed alive. The main character in this book was very good because all he cared about was surviving at all costs no matter what the Nazis did to him or the work they made him do.


In the book I was struck by this passage where Yanek’s uncle is telling him that everyone he knows is probably dead and the only thing they can do is to survive.


Your parents, Oskar and Mina. They are dead and gone now, Yanek, and we would grieve them if we could. But we have only one purpose now: survive. Survive at all costs, Yanek. We cannot let these monsters tear us from the pages of the world.”(pg.135)


I included this short passage from the novel because I thought that it is what made Yanek not want to give up and do this for his family. I would probably rate this book an 8 out of 10 because it had a lot of information in it and it told the story of a young boy back in that time period.



James Burris

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1 thought on “James B.’s Letter Essay #5: Prisoner B-3087

  1. Dear James B.,
    Your essay contains a good amount of information, which is a good thing. You also meet the requirements (such as information about the book, a quoted passage and page #, a rating, etc). A couple suggestions I would make are to fix some spelling/ grammar errors, and also a specific example is that you don’t have to give a background of the book for the intro paragraph, I would move it to the summary paragraph. The book seems really interesting since it was based on a real event (WWII), and I am somewhat interested in this book. Good job with the summary.

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