How many times have you said: “What? Another Anne Frank book! Enough, already!” But please make room for this one. It is written for either slower-reading sixth graders or bright young readers — possibly even fourth-graders — who want to read a book about Anne Frank. The Frank family is well-off, the father in banking, but Hitler and the Third Reich soon put an end to that as well as their safety, and so the family, including older sister Margot who is seven, decamps for Holland where she will attend school. Anne Frank is a pre-schooler of three and stays behind in Germany with her grandmother before eventually joining the rest of the family. The entrepreneurial Otto Frank soon starts a new business that flourishes until the Nazis invade neutral Holland. Otto decides not to flee, but to hide and so a hiding place is prepared and the family maintained by employees. At that point, readers can follow Anne’s day-to-day life, and how she confides in “Kitty,” her diary and best friend in which she writes her observations and feelings about everyone and everything. These include her annoyances, but also her growing affection for Peter, the other teenager in hiding with his family. When the family is betrayed and their hiding place revealed, and the family deported to Westerbork, Anne enjoys being released from the confinement of the attic. Sadly, it is only a prelude to Bergen-Belsen. The cattle car train car ride is described, as is the Bergen- Belsen camp experience including the sisters’ horrible deaths from typhoid. One of more than a dozen photos shows the weakness of the camp population as they were lying listlessly on the floor after liberation, but it does not show skeletal former prisoners. The language is simple and direct, and supported by quotes from the original diary and many photographs. While a third-grader might not catch on to teenager Anne’s growing love for Peter, in the current media age, they very well might. There is an afterword, and a glossary with clear explanations. The print and spacing between lines are more ample than usual for a book on this subject. This book is published in cooperation with the Anne Frank Foundation and is highly recommended for readers from 8 – 12.
Anne Frank: Her Life
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.
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