Karl Stern is growing up in Nazi Germany right before the start of World War II. Being a Jew in heritage only, Stern is being heckled at school for the first time. After being beat up by classmates, he must go to his father's gallery to help set up a showing. While there he meets world-renowned boxer Max Schmeling. When Max's wife finds a painting she likes from the Stern's gallery, Max offers to trade boxing lessons for Karl in exchange for the painting. At first Karl is hesitant to be taking boxing lessons because he doesn't believe Max will follow through with his promise. But he is excited to have a chance to learn from such a famous boxer. When Max begins to take Karl to his own boxing club, Karl discovers he has a talent for boxing. But what will happen as Germany gets worse and worse for Jews, and the discrimination against Jews continues to grow? What will happen to Karl and his family? Will they be able to make it on their own or will they need the help of a world-famous boxer?
"The Berlin Boxing Club" by Robert Sharenow was a very interesting read. I enjoyed reading about Karl's life leading up to World War II, Max Schmeling and the role he played in Karl's life, and what Jews went through during this time period. I can't wait to read the next book by Robert Sharenow.
Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.
So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.
But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl 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?