The Island on Bird Street
The Island on Bird Street is a 1985
1985 in literature
The year 1985 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-New books:*Isaac Asimov - Robots and Empire*Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale*Jean M. Auel - The Mammoth Hunters*Iain Banks - Walking on Glass...

 semi-autobiographical children's book
Children's literature
Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

 by Israeli author Uri Orlev
Uri Orlev
Uri Orlev is an award-winning Israeli children's author and translator of Polish-Jewish origin.-Biography:Uri Orlev, born Jerzy Henryk Orlowski, was born in Warsaw, Poland. He survived the war years in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where he was sent to after his...

, which tells the story of a young boy, Alex, and his struggle to survive alone in a ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The author received the 1996
1996 in literature
The year 1996 in literature involved some significant events and new books.-Events:*Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is removed from an advanced placement English reading list in Lindale, Texas because it "conflicted with the values of the community."* In the United Kingdom, the first...

 Hans Christian Andersen Award
Hans Christian Andersen Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Award, sometimes known as the "Nobel Prize for children's literature", is an international award given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People in recognition of a "lasting contribution to children's literature"...

 for children's literature, largely for this book, which was translated into numerous languages and adapted into a play and a film (the story was originally written in Hebrew).

Plot summary

Alex (the main character) is an 11-year-old Jewish boy living in a Ghetto in German-occupied Poland during World War II with his father and their friend, Boruch. German soldiers come into the Ghetto and send people onto trains to be taken away (most likely to concentration camps). Alex and his father get separated, and soon Alex has to learn how to survive in the empty ghetto by himself. As it turns out the ghetto is not entirely empty, and that is where he comes across various people, from neighbors to robbers, some of whom even try to help him. He finds himself in an abandoned, bombed out building on Bird Street (Ptasia street
Street names of Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital of the European country of Poland. This page gives an overview of street names in the city that refer to famous persons, cities or historic events....

) where he seeks refuge. The only thing he has to pass the time away with is his pet mouse Snow, the novel Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe
Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe that was first published in 1719. Epistolary, confessional, and didactic in form, the book is a fictional autobiography of the title character—a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and...

and other books, and a small window overlooking the town. He has to hunt for food on his own and still stay hidden from soldiers. It is a great test for Alex to see if he can make it through tough conditions, and also wait for the arrival of his father.

Adaptation to feature film

In 1997, The Island on Bird Street was made into a feature film starring Jordan Kiziuk, Patrick Bergin
Patrick Bergin
Patrick Connolly Bergin is an Irish actor and singer. He may be best-known internationally for playing the menacing husband of Julia Roberts' character in the thriller Sleeping with the Enemy and is also known for his role as Irish terrorist Kevin O'Donnell in the film adaption of Patriot Games....

 and Jack Warden
Jack Warden
Jack Warden was an American character actor.-Early life:Warden was born John Warden Lebzelter in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Laura M. and John Warden Lebzelter, who was an engineer and technician. He was of Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry...

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