Anne Frank

Josephine Poole; Angela Bar­rett, illus.
  • Review
By – August 3, 2012
Most illus­trat­ed books with Holo­caust set­tings are for old­er chil­dren, but this one serves as both an intro­duc­tion to Anne Frank and to the cat­a­clysmic times in which she lived. Chil­dren as young as eight will iden­ti­fy with the ordi­nary lit­tle girl, some­one you might sit next to in class,” who shared the mis­for­tune of mil­lions of oth­er Euro­pean Jews to live, increas­ing­ly fright­ened and hunt­ed, dur­ing the Shoah. The expe­ri­ences of the Frank fam­i­ly are placed in his­tor­i­cal con­text, from their move to Hol­land and their exclu­sion from nor­mal life, to their hid­ing in the secret annex, their betray­al, and the death of all of the fam­i­ly but Otto Frank, whose sur­vival result­ed in Anne’s diary becom­ing known to the world. Poole’s crys­tal-clear nar­ra­tive dis­tills Anne’s short life through the prism of her emo­tions — fear, bore­dom, fam­i­ly squab­bles, her grow­ing love for Peter, and the out­let of writ­ing to Dear Kit­ty.” Barrett’s ele­gant illus­tra­tions are an essen­tial part of the sto­ry in that they place the Franks and their con­fined exis­tence with­in expres­sive­ly ren­dered scenes of both his­toric and domes­tic sig­nif­i­cance. The last dou­ble-page spread shows Miep hand­ing Otto Frank Anne’s diary, accom­pa­nied by the final words of the text: Anne Frank was no more than a girl, and her short life had come to an end. But her sto­ry was just begin­ning.” An end­note describes the pub­li­ca­tion of the diary and gives a detailed chronol­o­gy. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 8 – 12.
Lin­da R. Sil­ver is a spe­cial­ist in Jew­ish children’s lit­er­a­ture. She is edi­tor of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries’ Jew­ish Val­ues­find­er, www​.ajl​jew​ish​val​ues​.org, and author of Best Jew­ish Books for Chil­dren and Teens: A JPS Guide (The Jew­ish Pub­li­ca­tion Soci­ety, 2010) and The Jew­ish Val­ues Find­er: A Guide to Val­ues in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture (Neal-Schu­man, 2008).

Discussion Questions