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.