The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Die


by Lantos, Peter | Humanities
Published 05/01/2023 by Scholastic in the United Kingdom
Paperback | 224 pages

ISBN: 9780702323089 Category:


‘Deeply moving’ – Booktrust

‘A gripping story of love, courage and triumph

over evil’ – The Bookseller

‘Can, and should, be read by an audience of

any age.’ – Jewish News

A story of survival, of love between mother and son and

of enduring hope in the face of unspeakable hardship. An important


The Boy Who Didn’t Want to Die describes an extraordinary

journey, made by Peter, a boy of five, through

war-torn Europe in 1944 and 1945.

Peter and his parents set out from a small Hungarian town, travelling

through Austria and then Germany together. Along the way,

unforgettable images of adventure flash one after another: sleeping

in a tent and then under the sky, discovering a disused brick

factory, catching butterflies in the meadows – and as Peter realises

that this adventure is really a nightmare –

watching bombs falling from the blue sky outside Vienna, learning

maths from his mother in Belsen.

All this is drawn against a background of terror, starvation,

infection and, inevitably, death, before Peter and his mother can

return home.

Author Professor Peter Lantos is a Fellow of

the Academy of Medical Sciences and in his previous life was an

internationally renowned clinical neuroscientist. His memoir, Parallel

Lines (Arcadia Books, 2006) was translated

into Hungarian, German and Italian. Closed Horizon (Arcadia,

2012) was his first novel.

Peter was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2020 for

‘services to Holocaust education and awareness’.

He is one of the last of the generation of survivors and this

– his first book for children – will serve as a testimony

to his experience.

Peter lives in London.


‘the book [is] absolutely compelling, partly because it is

a true story of extraordinary resilience and survival in unimaginable

circumstances, but also because Lantos’ stark recollections

make very powerful reading.’ Gaby Wine, The Jewish


Additional information

Weight 0.206 kg