Anne Frank: The Young Writer Who Told the World Her Story

Ann Kramer
  • Review
By – November 14, 2011
Attrac­tive­ly designed, this lat­est entry in the Nation­al Geo­graph­ic World His­to­ry Biogra­phies is packed with infor­ma­tion. Orga­nized into brief, read­able chap­ters, the book cov­ers Anne’s ear­ly years, her life grow­ing up, her family’s being forced into hid­ing at the Annex, and their dis­cov­ery and depor­ta­tion. 

It describes Anne and Margot’s trag­ic deaths at the ages of 15 and 19 from typhoid at the Bergen-Belsen con­cen­tra­tion camp, just months before lib­er­a­tion. A time­line of World War II and Holo­caust events runs across the bot­tom of many of the two-page spreads. Sta­tis­tics, maps, and infor­ma­tion are inter­spersed about the Euro­pean Jews, their cus­toms, beliefs and hol­i­days. Much of the book’s infor­ma­tion is in text box­es, jux­ta­posed on top of oth­er infor­ma­tion. There are many black and white and col­or pho­tos, some of which were tak­en by Otto Frank show­ing Anne’s ear­ly life. The visu­al appeal of Anne’s plaid diary cov­er is the back­drop for the table of con­tents and some of the pic­tures, includ­ing those at the end which show young would-be writ­ers how the sto­ry of the pub­li­ca­tion of Anne’s diary have result­ed in sub­se­quent play and movie adap­ta­tions, and sus­tained the world’s con­tin­ued fas­ci­na­tion with her life. Includ­ed are a glos­sary, bib­li­og­ra­phy, web­sites, and an index. The author has also writ­ten Eleanor of Aquitaine and Man­dela for this series. 

The narrative’s casu­al, infor­mal tone seems to be meant to intro­duce younger read­ers to Anne Frank’s life, and some­times clash­es with the somber infor­ma­tion and very graph­ic con­cen­tra­tion camp pic­tures, which are more appro­pri­ate for old­er read­ers. For ages 11 – 14.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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