This succinct, highly readable biography provides an adequate introduction to Anne Frank. Sufficient background information enables readers to place Anne Frank’s life in historical context and gain some knowledge of what life was like for Jews in hiding during Hitler’s reign of terror. Archival and contemporary photos enhance the text though the quality is inconsistent. Additionally, the computer generated graphics used to illustrate the floor plan of the Secret Annex and the time line of Anne’s life are unsophisticated and don’t match the tone of the rest of the book. Captions, textboxes, and quotes from Anne’s diary are generously placed on every page. A “Stop! Think” feature poses questions to readers such as “What belongings would you bring with you if you needed to hide?” and “Why do you think Anne loved sitting near the window?” while the “Dig Deeper” feature provides readers with additional information about Anne’s diary and the chestnut tree outside the Secret Annex. A glossary, index, bibliography, and list of websites are appended. One inconsistency in the text should be noted: the author indicates that Anne’s family had lived in Frankfort for over 100 years (p.4) but later states that “the Frank family had lived in Frankfort for over 300 years” (p.6). While biographies of Anne Frank for young readers are plentiful, this offering will hopefully motivate readers to turn to more in-depths accounts such as Anne Frank: A Hidden Life by Mirjam Pressler and the diary itself. Recommended for ages 9 – 13.
Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Rachel is currently the co-editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter. She holds a BA in history from Grinnell College and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan.