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Author: Boyne, John
Publisher: Doubleday Canada/ Penguin Random House
Year Published: 2015
ISBN: 9780385687669
Grades: Grade 8, Grades 9 to 12

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

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John Boyne, award-winning author of “Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” once again juggles the horrors of World War II with the innocence of childhood, tackling many important issues including friendship, death, bullying, and the damaging effects of war on children. Pierrot is an intelligent seven year old whose best friend is a deaf Jewish boy named Anshel, but when he becomes orphaned in Paris, he is sent to live with his German aunt in Austria. This compelling story places the impressionable Pieter (as he assumes his German name) in the Berghof (The Eagle’s Nest), Hitler’s vacation home at the top of a desolate mountain, at a pivotal time in his life, where he witnesses the dual sides of Hitler’s personality, from animal lover and artist, to a moody, violent anti-Semitic manipulator filled with rage. The naive Pieter’s kind soul morphs into a bold, bossy, unkind bully as the brainwashing, propaganda, and pageantry of the Nazi regime trounces the innocence of the confused and impressionable youth. Mature teen and adult readers emotions will flip between sympathy, disbelief, disgust and hope in a provocative story with a powerful epilogue that will prompt thoughtful discussion.

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