The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Activities

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'The Boy in the Striped Pajamas' by John Boyne is a novel about the holocaust from the perspective of a Nazi commander's son. This asset provides engaging activities to support classrooms in studying this book.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas offers an opportunity to view the atrocities of Auschwitz Concentration Camp through the innocence of a child 's eyes. The following activities enable secondary students to build background information about Auschwitz's history and dive deeper into comprehending the text.

Children's Book

Students will engage in a shared writing activity that explores the friendship between Bruno and Shmuel.


  • construction paper
  • markers
  • hole punch
  • ring binders


  • Divide students into pairs. Provide each pair with a set of materials.
  • Students will brainstorm thoughts and memories that Bruno might have about Shmuel and that Shmuel might have about Bruno.
  • Students will assemble a 10-page book by punching holes on the left margin of the construction paper and connecting them with ring binders.
  • Students will work together to write and illustrate a children's book about Bruno and Shmuel's friendship in which the left side of the page is from Bruno's perspective and the right side of the page is from Shmuel's perspective. The book should include first impressions and major events from the novel.
  • Students will share their books in small groups and reflect on the obliviousness of adult realities from Bruno and Shmuel's perspectives.

Breaking News

Students will create a broadcast news segment about Bruno's disappearance.


  • video recording equipment
  • computer with video editing software


  • Divide the students into small groups. Provide each group with access to materials.
  • Have students reflect on how Bruno's disappearance might be reported in modern news.
  • Have students write a 5-10 minute news segment that reports the story, includes an on-scene interview, and reflects opposing pundit views related to the story.
  • Have students create a video of the news segment to play for the class.

Auschwitz Diorama

Students will create a diorama of a scene from the novel.


  • shoebox
  • craft sticks
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • 16-gauge craft wire
  • computer

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