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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Run, Boy, Run
by Uri Orlev
Age Range: 9-11
Srulik Frydman is an eight-year-old Polish Jew living in the ghetto with his family. One day, while scrounging with his mother for food, Srulik finds himself alone, his mother has disappeared. Unable to navigate the large town without her, he joins up with a band of orphans. With news that the ghetto is going to be emptied, Srulik manages to escape hidden in the back of a farmer’s wagon. He joins another group of Jewish children who are living in the forest. When Srulik unexpectedly meets his father, who is also on the run, he advises him to forget his real name and to act like a Christian, learning how to cross himself and to pray in order to stay alive. Srulik becomes Jurek Staniak an orphan who has lost his parents while fleeing a bombing raid.
Throughout Srulik’s years on the run in the Polish countryside he is nurtured by some and hated by many. In one shocking unforgettable incident, after a terrible accident on the farm where he has been working, he loses his right arm because a Polish doctor refuses to operate on a Jew. The narrative is simple and spare, with factual detail about everything from hunting with a slingshot to making a fire with a piece of glass.
Based on the real life of an ghetto survivor who escaped into the Polish countryside, Orlev has once again used historical fiction to successfully illustrate the heartbreaking resilience of a young boy as he fights for survival.
Run, Boy, Run was awarded the Mildred L. Bachelder Award in 2004.