The Island on Bird Street

Uri Orlev

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Summary

In the novel The Island on Bird Street written by Uri Orlev a young boy named Alex must learn how to survive all by himself in the, now empty, Warsaw Ghetto. Alex's Mother and Father, along with everyone else in the ghetto, have already been transported. Alex goes into hiding believing that there is no one for who he can depend on, little does he know that there are actually other people in the same dire situation who could possibly help him on his journey of survival.


Facts

Because The Island on Bird Street is a semi-autobiographical book about a young boy living in a ghetto it had a lot of information about the Holocaust. The most surprising that I learned about the Holocaust form reading this book was that the factory workers living in the Ghetto were not allowed to keep children. In the book it states, "It was illegal for factory workers to keep children. It hadn't always been" ( Orlev 34). The second thing I learned about the Holocaust from reading this book was that there was a Polish side to the Warsaw Ghetto where the Polish lived. On page 27 it describes the Polish side, "The entire length of the street behind the house was divided by a high brick wall that was topped with broken glass. Beyond the Polish side" (Orlev 27). The last piece of information that I found interesting about the Holocaust from this book was that The German would randomly show up at the Ghettos to select who would be transported to concentration camps. In the beginning of the book Alex's dad was transported to a concentration camp after he was selected by the German police. This is what left Alex all alone, hiding, in the empty house. Here is a quote that could support this fact, "I knew what that meant. Everyone was rounded up in the yard, and then one by one you went through a gate where the German factory owner and his Polish partner would be standing with the policeman. It was they who decided who stayed in the ghetto to work and who was transported" (Orlev 16). This book was full of information, but because I take a class about the Holocaust I already knew most of the information presented by it.


Recommendation

Overall, The Island on Bird Street was a good book, and it was also very easy to read which is why I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy read with an interesting plot. In my opinion, this book would probably attract younger readers just because it was written in a child's point of view and would be more relate able to younger readers. The only reason I would not recommend this book for more advanced readers is because it is not a book that makes you think, and the writing style is very child like. The Island on Bird Street is a great book for readers looking to be thrilled by the adventures of a young boy and his struggle for survival.


Alex

An 11 year old Jewish boy named Alex is the main character in the novel, The Island on Bird Street. Throughout the book Alex talks about things his father had taught him, and from the stories Alex told about his father the reader can easily tell that Alex really admired his Dad. A quote that could support Alex's admiration for his father would be, " After the first time, we sat on the floor night after night while I practiced assembling and disassembling the pistol. Father showed me one thing after another" (Orlev 3). A second quote from the story that could describe Alex would be, "Sometimes, when I was alone in the hideout, I'd think about what it would be like to be someone on whom others' lives depended" (Orlev 16). This quote can support that Alex was always thinking of other people. There are many quotes throughout the book that show that Alex was a very thoughtful person. Alex did not only think of people but also his pet mouse, snow who had been left at home during the selection. To me Alex was a very brave young boy, there are events that happen in the book that should never happen to an 11 year old, and for Alex to go through those events makes him very brave. On page 99 Alex says, "I showed them the pistol and stuck it quickly back into my pocket before they could get any ideas about it" (Orlev 99).