I Am Anne Frank

Brad Meltzer, Christo­pher Eliopou­los (illus.)

  • Review
By – February 16, 2021

There are many biogra­phies of Anne Frank geared to young read­ers. This new graph­ic nov­el stands out for its to-the-point-clar­i­ty and its avoid­ance of sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty, even as it empha­sizes Anne’s pos­i­tive atti­tude and opti­mistic views. The sto­ry is told mov­ing­ly; Anne is pre­sent­ed hero­ical­ly; and the pro­gres­sion of the his­tor­i­cal events sur­round­ing the Franks is told with just the appro­pri­ate amount of dra­ma, allow­ing the per­son­al­i­ties to shine. A sin­cere appre­ci­a­tion for those who helped the fam­i­ly dur­ing their time in hid­ing is a sig­nif­i­cant part of what this book conveys.

Brad Meltzer and Christo­pher Eliopou­los have per­fect­ly inte­grat­ed the art and text, cre­at­ing an effec­tive por­trait of a fam­i­ly and an era. The text employs both nar­ra­tion and speech bub­bles, and excel­lent judg­ment is shown as to which is most effec­tive scene by scene. Facial expres­sion and back­ground detail enhance the text. Of par­tic­u­lar note is the draw­ing of the Secret Annex, which evokes the crowd­ing and claus­tro­pho­bia inher­ent in the scene. The impor­tant ele­ments of the diary are all includ­ed; while a graph­ic nov­el does­n’t replace a close read­ing of the diary itself, this one serves as an excel­lent intro­duc­tion and may pique curios­i­ty and a desire to learn more.

I Am Anne Frank is part of Meltzer’s exten­sive series Ordi­nary Peo­ple Change the World, which tells in graph­ic form the sto­ries of many notable fig­ures of inter­est to chil­dren. This one is an essen­tial addi­tion to the series. Anne becomes an acces­si­ble role mod­el for her sparkling per­son­al­i­ty and fine char­ac­ter, and there is also a fit­ting empha­sis on the lega­cy of hope she left behind. A short epi­logue is includ­ed as part of the artis­tic whole and includes a touch­ing pic­ture of chil­dren read­ing and learn­ing about Anne Frank and absorb­ing the lessons she had to teach.

The author includes a time­line and a sug­gest­ed read­ing list, which pro­vide con­text and addi­tion­al information.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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