Emil and Karl

Yankev Glatshteyn; Translated by Jeffrey Shandler

Square Fish

Download Image Yankev Glatshteyn; Translated by Jeffrey Shandler Emil and Karl

Available Formats

This is a unique work. It is one of the first books written for young readers describing the early days of the event that has since come to be known as the Holocaust. Originally written in Yiddish in 1938, it is one of the most accomplished works of children's literature in this language. It is also the only book for young readers by Glatshteyn, a major American Yiddish poet, novelist, and essayist.

Written in the form of a suspense novel, Emil and Karl draws readers into the dilemmas faced by two young boys--one Jewish, the other not--when they suddenly find themselves without families or homes in Vienna on the eve of World War II. Because the book was written before World War II, and before the full revelations of the Third Reich's persecution of Jews and other civilians, it offers a fascinating look at life during this period and the moral challenges people faced under Nazism. It is also a taut, gripping, page-turner of the first order.

Connect with the Author

Sign Up for
Author Updates

Macmillan Newsletter

Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now


Praise for Emil and Karl

“This important book...gives a chilling portrait of a world descending into madness as experienced by two innocent children. The excellent translation effectively conveys the helplessness of the characters.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
“It’s a clear, powerful novel that will bring today’s readers very close to what it was like to be a child under Nazi occupation. . . . The fast-moving prose is stark and immediate. . . . The translation, sixty-five years after the novel’s original publication, is nothing short of haunting.”—Booklist, Starred Review
“Like ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ Emil and Karl will stir adults, as well as the book’s intended audience.”—The New York Times
Emil and Karl defies categorization. For a moment I feel as if I am in Vienna in 1940, that I am standing beside the author, watching the impossible unfold. I share his disbelief, his mute acceptance of a world turned upside down. The experience is more immediate than mere fiction, more memorable and more frightening.”—Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Yankev Glatshteyn; Translated by Jeffrey Shandler

Born in Lublin, Poland, Yankev Glatshteyn (1896-1971) was one of the major figures in the burgeoning Yiddish literary scene in New York City during the first half of the last century.

Jeffrey Shandler (translator) is an associate professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of  While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust and editor of Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust, among other books. He lives in New York City.

Yankev Glatshteyn


Buy the Book

Available Formats and Book Details

Emil and Karl
Yankev Glatshteyn; Translated by Jeffrey Shandler

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Square Fish
March 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312373870
ISBN10: 0312373872
Young Adult Fiction
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 208 pages
Age Range: 9 to 14
Grade Range: 4 to 9 Information for Librarians

Information for Librarians

Lexile: 720LL
F&P Level A-Z: Y
AR Quiz Number: 106419
AR Points: 6


From The Publisher

Square Fish

Latest on Facebook

Latest on Twitter