On Thursday, October 24, bestselling and award-winning author Alan Gratz presented at Robertsville Middle School. He spoke to nearly 600 RMS 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the morning and then signed copies of his novels in the library after his presentation. He talked to students about his childhood and then played an enthusiastic game of “Choose-Your-Own Adventure” with his novels. During his presentation, he discussed the Holocaust, WWII, the Hitler Youth,  the civil war in Syria, and the current refugee crisis. He also answered questions at the end of his discussion. A special thanks goes to the Lunch-4-Literacy organization for donating numerous copies of Refugee for our students to read and to the RMS PTSA for bringing cookies and supplies for the autograph party.

His books include Prisoner B-3087, Grenade, and the NYT Bestselling Refugee. Allies, his newest novel about the D-Day Invasion, was the featured book for this year’s Scholastic Book Fair. A brief synopsis of some of his books can be found below:

  • Prisoner B-3087 (winner of Tennessee’s Volunteer State Book Award)—This biographical novel examines the childhood of Yanek Gruener, a Polish boy who survived ten different concentration camps during the Holocaust.
  • Refugee (NYT #1 Bestseller, the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, and a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights). Three different stories of refugees from different settings combine into one amazing novel. Mahmoud, a refugee from contemporary Syria, Josef, a Jewish boy from WWII Germany, and Isabelle, a Cuba girl from the 1990s, all flee their homes in search of safety and refuge.
  • Grenade—This novel is set on the island of Okinawa during World War II. Young Hideki is given two grenades by the Japanese army. He told to throw one the Americans and use the other one on himself. But will he follow the orders given to him?
  • Allies–Six disparate heroes put their lives on the line to make the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France a success.

Mr. Gratz was born in Knoxville and attended the University of Tennessee. After several years as a teacher, he turned to a career as a writer. He now lives in Asheville, NC with his family and travels all over the world, presenting to schools and at conferences. RMS is extremely fortunate to host him for an author visit this fall. If you want to learn more about Mr. Gratz, please visit his web site at www.alangratz.com/