Anne Frank and the Remem­ber­ing Tree

Sandy Eisen­berg Sas­so; Eri­ka Steiskal, illus.
  • Review
By – June 15, 2015

Told from the per­spec­tive of the chest­nut tree out­side Anne Frank’s home in Amster­dam, this pic­ture book com­ple­ments the Anne Frank exhi­bi­tion at The Children’s Muse­um of Indi­anapo­lis. The tree reports what it sees from its van­tage point and zooms in on the Frank fam­i­ly. But like any book writ­ten with a spe­cif­ic pur­pose in mind, the sto­ry suf­fers and feels forced. The title is a mis­nomer. It leads read­ers to believe the book is about Anne Frank. The book is about the tree and the Frank fam­i­ly. It address­es Mar­got Frank as much as it does Anne. The illus­tra­tions are the real star of the book, bold and bleed­ing across dou­ble spreads, which makes the book a good choice for read­ing aloud to groups of chil­dren. The back­mat­ter includes a list of where the tree’s saplings have been plant­ed across the world, but it does not address the sig­nif­i­cance of this action. 

Still, Sasso’s text is a far bet­ter read than the 2013 Anne Frank’s Chest­nut Tree. The tree” point of view allows a wide per­spec­tive that cap­tures the city and its peo­ple against the back­drop of World War II and Nazi persecu­tion. This title could eas­i­ly be used to enter into a dis­cus­sion of the Holo­caust and its impact on a per­son, a fam­i­ly, a city, and the world at large. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 6 – 9.

Bar­bara Kras­ner is an award-win­ning poet and his­to­ri­an who focus­es her writ­ing on the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca and dur­ing the Holo­caust. She teach­es in the his­to­ry depart­ment of The Col­lege of New Jer­sey and serves as Direc­tor, Mer­cer Holo­caust, Geno­cide & Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Center.

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