Anne Frank: Young Diarist

Ruth Ash­by
  • Review
By – August 3, 2012
Anne Frank, who lived for a mere 15 years, is still the most wide­ly known and mem­o­rable rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all the chil­dren who per­ished in the Holo­caust. Her diary has been pub­lished in every major lan­guage in the world. In Japan she has become a cult fig­ure for teenagers. Because of her writ­ing tal­ents, viva­cious per­son­al­i­ty, and a typ­i­cal teenage qual­i­ty with which read­ers can eas­i­ly iden­ti­fy, every stu­dent who comes to our Holo­caust Cen­ter wish­es to buy a copy of The Diary. The prob­lem is that The Diary is best read by ages 12 and up, and so the fifth-graders who request it have to be sat­is­fied with books that are intro­duc­tions to Anne’s life and expe­ri­ences, but pri­mar­i­ly describe her sto­ry, fre­quent­ly in a pho­to-essay for­mat. These lack a sense of Anne’s pres­ence. The title under review comes clos­er to the orig­i­nal than the pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed books on two accounts. It close­ly resem­bles the for­mat (phys­i­cal appear­ance of the paper­back edi­tion) of The Diary, except for larg­er print and more white space between lines and also grace­ful­ly works into the nar­ra­tive many con­ver­sa­tion­al quotes and Anne’s reflec­tions from The Diary. The sen­tence struc­ture is sim­ple enough for younger chil­dren to han­dle. In an After­word, the author presents an overview of World War II and the destruc­tion of Europe’s Jews fol­lowed by a read­ing list, books about Anne Frank and books about the Holo­caust, both non­fic­tion and fic­tion. A list of CD ROM’s and videos as well as web­sites con­cludes this fine pre­sen­ta­tion of Anne Frank, the sym­bol and the per­son. One would wish, how­ev­er, that a bet­ter grade paper would be used to avoid a pre­ma­ture yel­low­ing of pages. This is too fine a book to be pub­lished on paper that will yel­low and become brit­tle before long. For ages 8 – 12.
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.

Discussion Questions