Monday, November 4, 2013

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

The Boy on the Wooden Box: how the impossible became possible…on Schindler’s list
A Memoir by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran * Elisabeth B. Leyson
Atheneum Books for Young Children. 2013
ISBN: 9781442497818
Grades 6 and up
This reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from the public library.

Leon Leyson loved playing on the Krakow streetcars with his friends and tagging along after his older brothers. Then, suddenly, German soldiers were:
In his country.
In his city.
In his home.

Leyson was ten years old when the Nazi’s entered Poland, changing his life forever. Three of his brothers would die at the hands of the Germans, but Leyson, his sister, mother and father would be saved because of Oskar Schindler and his famous “list”. 

After surviving the war and living in a displaced persons camp in Wetzlar, Germany, in the American occupied zone the family came to California in May of 1949. Leyson was just nineteen years old. “My real life was just beginning.” 

In the epilogue Leyson explains that he never shared what he had experienced during the war with friends and colleagues until after the release of the movie Schindler’s List. This memoir is based on the talks he gave frequently for over twenty years. Told from the perspective of a child, Leyson’s story is very moving. 

Sadly, Leyson did not live to know that Atheneum would publish his book. He died from T-cell lymphoma on January 12, 2013. Please share this book with students who are studying the Holocaust. Pair the Boy on the Wooden Box with these fiction titles about the Jewish experience in Poland during WW2: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, and Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orliev.  

Listen to Leon Leyson tell his story in 12-parts on YouTube

Back matter also includes photos, an afterward, and index. 

1 comment:

  1. This looks wonderful. I will for sure read. Thank you for sharing!