Anne Frank


The story of Anne Frank is complex for so many reasons, not least that it is so well known, yet so badly known too. Therefore, we need to set the scene, as Josephine Poole does, with Anne’s family moving to Amsterdam to escape  anti-Jewish programmes of Germany. It seems this family was fortunate in their move. What’s more, Anne was a gregarious character, quick to engage with her neighbourhood, school and friends. Then again, she was dearly loved by a warm and loving family.

However, the winds of change moved quickly in Europe. Therefore, soon, the offices where Anne’s father worked, were sought as refuge from the Nazi forces that moved into the Netherlands. What’s more, Miep, her father’s assistant, would prove a lifeline for the family, hidden in the office annexe.

Josephine Poole’s picture book retelling of this story is fulsome, thorough and truthful. What’s more, it is appropriate to a younger, middle grade, primary school readership. Then again, the pictures from Angela Barrett offer an authenticity; we feel as though we are glimpsing Anne’s world.

Like My Story: Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan, Anne’s story is one that needs to be known properly and respected. However her diary is that of an intelligent, mature adolescent in terrifying times. Therefore, it is, in this humble bookseller’s opinion, almost disrespectful to read it too early. It means that Anne Frank, this retelling, is an appropriate and considered book to read and understand. Finally, Bookwagon recommends this title for reading at home and school.

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Anne Frank

A Retelling of the Iconic Story

Josephine Poole & Angela Barrett


Although we know of Anne Frank, few people have read her diary, or if they have, they read it at school. However, Anne’s story is that of a mature, intelligent adolescent, caught in treacherous times, in a  knife-edge environment.
Therefore, Josephine Poole’s picture book retelling of this famous diary is an appropriate and respectful title to choose for younger readers. Not only does it set the scene, so as to explain the supposed reasons for the growth of Nazism, but it considers the horrifying antisemitism that led to Anne’s family and friends’ incarceration. Then again, this book considers Anne’s life, her family and friends, and the heroism of Miep, her father’s office assistant.
What of life behind the bookcase in her father’s tall office block? What of leaving Moortje the family cat? Then again, what of the trail of deception the family had to leave the neighbours in case they were found? Furthermore, what would you choose to take or leave behind, should you be hiding for your life? What’s more, imagine having to be ‘silent all day- something unbearable for someone like Anne’? Then again, think about being in close, confined quarters with the same people all the time? Finally, just think about not being able to go outside…
Josephine Poole’s retelling is tender and truthful. Then again, the pictures of Angela Barrett are textured, almost historic in their sepia tones, considered and empathetic.
It seems that stories of people like My Story: Noor-Un-Nissa Inayat Khan or Anne Frank, should be read, recognised and appreciated. Bookwagon recommends this retelling highly for primary age readers.


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