Nonfiction Monday: National Geographic Biographies: Anne Frank

Anne Frank: The Young Writer Who Told the World Her Story by Ann Kramer is part of National Geographic’s World History Biographies Series. The biography is marketed as an introduction to Anne’s story for readers who might not yet be ready to read her diary. The format of the text is very visually appealing, with excellent balance of text and images, numerous photographs of the Frank family and the Secret Annex, and a timeline that runs along the bottom of the pages throughout the entire book. You feel like you are getting a real glimpse into Anne’s world and experiences. The background of some of the pages is the same plaid pattern found on Anne’s actual diary itself, which I think is a lovely design touch. The text is divided into manageable sections focusing on Anne’s early years, the period of hiding in the Secret Annex and the family’s discovery and deportation. Interspersed throughout are several sections to provide background information or context on the historical period (Jews In Europe, Kristallnacht, The Holocaust). The writing is straightforward and accessible.

National Geographic is pitching this book for the 8-12 range. I don’t think most 8 year olds are ready for the intensity of the content here, not to mention the strong images related to concentration camps in the section on The Holocaust. As always, presenting a text with this type of content means that you have to really know the child who will be reading it. In fact, I think that in some ways, if a child isn’t ready for Anne’s actual diary, they might not be ready for this book. I first read the Diary when I was about 11 or 12, and I would have really been interested to have this book at my side. It would be a good companion text for Anne’s beloved book.

You will find a listing of the other titles in this series at National Geographic.com.

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2 thoughts on “Nonfiction Monday: National Geographic Biographies: Anne Frank

  1. Jenny

    Thanks for the great review — I’ve read a number of Anne Frank biographies, as well as as many childrens books about the Holocaust as I can find, but I was not familiar with this one. I’m interested to read it.

    I’m glad that you pointed out the suggested age range for this book, along with what you think might be more appropriate. I’m the granddaughter of survivors and knew a lot about the Holocaust at a very young age, maybe a too-young age. The idea of reading this book as a companion to Frank’s diary is compelling… and sounds more appropriate that the suggested age that goes along with the book…

    In any event, thanks again for the review!

  2. shelfelf Post author

    Thanks for sharing your perspecitive Jenny. From a teacher’s point of view, I’m always very careful to think about whether or not the text I’m presenting is appropriate in its theme and content for my students. At the same time, I believe very much in introducing difficult topics to kids, with the right support and context, since I think it helps them become more compassionate, globally-minded individuals.

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