Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.
Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth.
So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but now it seems like the perfect chance to reinvent himself.
But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. And as Max's fame forces him to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, Karl begins to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?
Includes an author's note and sources page detailing the factual inspirations behind the novel.
Supports the Common Core State Standards.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Sharenow delivers a masterful historical novel.”
School Library Journal (starred review)“A story with well-drawn, complex characters, gripping history, and intense emotion.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“A fine one-two punch with the author’s previous powerful work, My Mother the Cheerleader.”
ALA Booklist“Readers will be drawn [in] by the sports detail and by the close-up narrative ofthe daily oppression.”
The Horn Book“A meaty, readable account of the perils and pitfalls of daily life in Nazi Germany.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)“This beautifully written coming-of-age story puts a human face on both the victims and the tormentors during the holocaust while revealing on a national level the political importance and implications of the historic match between black boxer Joe Louis and German hero Max Schmeling.”
Robert Lipsyte, author of THE CONTENDER and CENTER FIELD“I held my breath as Karl Stern, fierce and thoughtful, fought his way through the Nazi Wolf Pack and his own insecurities to save his family and become a boxer and an artist.”
Booklist (starred review)Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Readers will be held fast by the history told from the inside.”
School Library Journal (starred review)Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Powerfully written.”
Publishers WeeklyPraise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Teens should remain riveted right through the devastating conclusion to Sharenow’s promising work of historical fiction.”