Anne Frank

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Summer reading recommendations

Published June 13, 2013 by Dagmar

My last summer reading list was my own – books that I have been meaning to read but haven’t had the time to read yet.  Here’s a list for kids of books that I’ve loved and students in my library have loved.  Of course, as I was writing it, I remembered all the books I still have to write about that are missing from this list.  Here’s a great start, though.  I hope you enjoy the list.  I’d love to hear your own recommendations.

I’ve listed books by an approximate age group and added links to my blog articles so you can read more about each title and see cover pictures.

Favorite Picture Books

Early readers (K-2nd grade)

  • I love the Mr. Putter and Tabby series, a sweet series by Cynthia Rylant with short chapters.  Click on the link to my blog article.
  • Katie Kazoo, by Nancy Krulik
  • Magic Tree House, by Mary Pope Osborne is a suspenseful series great for either read aloud or to read alone.
  • My Weird School and My Weird School Daze by Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot are very funny and full of snarky humor, perfect for this age.  Short chapters work, too.

Favorite chapter books (2nd-tween):

  • Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai a wonderful book in verse about 10 year old girl’s transition from war-time Vietnam to the United States.
  • Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool.  The story of a girl who goes to live in a new town with a friend of her father. There she discovers new friends and a mystery that might tell her more about her father.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio the story of a boy with severe facial disfiguration and his entry into school.

Favorite chapter books for tweens and middle school:

  • Conspiracy 365, by Gabrielle Lord an exciting and suspenseful series about a high school boy who has to solve a mystery in order to save his own life.One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt was my favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl in foster care and her new foster family.
  • Okay for Now, by Gary P. Schmidt, the story of a boy with a difficult home life that finds his way in a new town and discovers a love for the drawings of John Audobon.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams is an award-winning book about a strong and resourceful 12 year old girl who, along with her sisters, flies to see the mother that abandoned her.
  • One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.  My favorite book of the year.  Realistic fiction about a girl who winds up in foster care, her relationship with her foster family.
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan is a fantastic fantasy series about an orphaned boy who is taken on as an apprentice to the elite but mysterious Rangers who work to protect
  • Shooting Kabul, by N.H. Senzai

Great non-fiction:

Anne Frank: Her life in words and pictures, published by the Anne Frank House

Published June 11, 2013 by Dagmar

Anne FrankMany adults know the story of Anne Frank, the 14 year old girl who died in the Holocaust and whose diary told the story of her family’s ordeal hiding from the Nazis in Holland.  When I was young, we not only read The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, we saw the play.  Both the book and the play had a huge impact on me when I saw the play in middle school.

It always surprises me that my students don’t know Anne Frank’s story.  It was heartening to hear the outrage they expressed when they realized that Anne was killed by the Nazis just because she was Jewish.  This injustice touched my students deeply, and this particular book about Anne Frank’s life was in high demand during my sixth grade girls’ biography unit.

This book has a unique format.  Published by the Anne Frank House, this book is six inches square and includes many family photographs of the Frank family.  The beginning of the book shows a picture of the diary that made Anne famous.  It’s a red plaid diary that she chose herself for her 13th birthday.  Pasted inside the front cover is a beautiful picture of Anne on her birthday.  Readers are drawn in by the picture of a young and pretty girl with a big smile.

After the Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power, the Frank family decided to leave Germany for Holland in 1933, because of the many restrictions Hitler and the Nazis placed on Jews.  In 1940, the Germans invaded Holland, and life for Jews changed dramatically for the worse.  In 1942, the Frank family went into hiding with the van Pels at Otto Frank’s office.  In June 1944, the Frank family celebrated as Allied troops landed at Normandy; but, in August, their dreams were shattered as they were captured by the Nazis and sent to different work and extermination camps.

I think this book was so successful with my students because Anne’s family’s story is interwoven with Anne’s own words from her diary.  There are many pictures of where Anne’s family and the van Pels family hid, so young readers can really get a sense of what Anne might have experienced as she hid from the Nazis.  Pictures of her diary pages are scattered throughout the book. This book brings the story of the Holocaust to a whole new generation very effectively.

Anne Frank and her sister Margot were sent to Bergen-Belsen camp.  The only member of the Frank and van Pels families to survive the war was Anne’s father Otto, who was liberated at Auschwitz by the Russians.

This is a powerful book and highly recommended.  This book was a Junior Library Guild selection.