Friday, January 9, 2009

10 Days: Anne Frank by David Colbert

From the front cover:

Anne Frank lived 5,748 days. These 10 days shook her world--and yours.

It's been many years since I first read Anne Frank's diary, and I don't remember any of the specifics. David Colbert's 10 Days: Anne Frank, which I read with The Girl, refreshed my memory. Colbert focuses on Anne Frank's very short life, from the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands and the letter that sent her family into hiding to the arrest of the occupants of the Secret Annex and Anne's death from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp.

In telling the Franks' story, Colbert focuses on what they might have been feeling. For instance, Otto is shown contemplating his decision not to send his daughters, Anne and Margot, to live with a cousin in England when he had the chance. Colbert also details the laws imposed by the Nazis to prevent the Jews from living normal lives. They weren't allowed to own bikes or ride in cars, and they couldn't go to the movies or stay out past dark. They were forced to wear yellow stars on their clothing to identify themselves as Jews, and to add insult to injury, they had to pay "four cents and one clothes ration coupon" (page 25) for each star.

Anne and her family were in hiding when she wrote in her diary on July 15, 1944, " spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." This quote stuck out to me, showed a bit of hope in a bleak situation. However, it was written before she experienced the horrors of the concentration camps, and I wonder what her post-war diaries would have said had she survived.

I've studied a lot about World War II, the Nazi party, and the Holocaust, so much of the details provided in the book weren't new to me, but The Girl had a real eye-opening experience. The book is geared toward 8- to 13-year olds, and I think Colbert does a great job describing the horrible things the Nazis did in a way that children can understand without being scared to sleep at night. By telling the story of one Jewish girl, Anne Frank, he puts a face on the six million Jews who were killed, underscoring the fact that these were ordinary people living ordinary lives before being singled out by a racist regime.

This was the first The Girl had heard of Anne Frank, so she was unaware of Anne's fate. Upon reading the final chapters, she had tears in her eyes. She saw Anne as a young girl like herself with a passion for writing, a vivid imagination, and it's hard for anyone to comprehend her senseless death. I'm glad I was able to share this book with her, as she had a lot of questions. I only wish I had some words of wisdom for her when she asked why these things occurred. It just didn't seem like enough of an explanation to say Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and the likes were lunatics. No matter how many books I read about the Holocaust, I'm always haunted by the stories and the pictures, and I myself have wondered many times why such atrocities were allowed to happen.

10 Days: Anne Frank is a short, but powerful book and a good way to introduce older children to an important part of world history.


Here's what The Girl (age 8) had to say about 10 Days: Anne Frank by David Colbert:

I learned a lot about the Holocaust from this book. I learned how horrible Auschwitz and other concentration camps were, and how bad the Jewish people were treated. I learned a lot about Anne Frank. She liked writing in her diary and watching movies like me. My mom and I were sad when we read that she died in the camp. I thought this was a good book because it taught me a lot. It made Anne Frank seem real to me, and I want to read her diary some day.


We read 10 Days: Anne Frank by David Colbert as part of the WWII reading challenge at War Through the Generations.


10 Days: Anne Frank also was reviewed by:

Peeking Between the Pages

If you've also reviewed it, let me know in the comments, and I'll add your link!

Disclosure:  We received 10 Days: Anne Frank as a gift.


Darlene said...

Amazing review Anna. Anne's story is such an important one and it's good that there's a book out there now to share with kids. I'm going to see if my library has this one as I'd love to read it.

The Girl: what a great review from you. I'm glad you liked the book and that it taught you so much. You are quite the little writer already-awesome job!

Serena said...

Anna: I'm glad this is a good read for younger kids without scaring them senseless.

The Girl: I should have warned you that Anne has it rough before I gave you the book as a gift. I'm a bad auntie! I'm glad you learned a lot from the book. Heck you have your first review for the challenge and I don't have one yet.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

My oldest is eight, too, and I often face the "Why?" question -- most recently in reference to Israel and the Gaza. The looks of horror on my kids' faces when I tell them that there are people who don't like Jews, and that this hatred, among some groups, goes back centuries.

It's horrible. I continue to pray for a day when this won't be the case. When we can celebrate our differences instead of vilify each other for them.

Teddy Rose said...

Powerful review Anna! I can tell this book really impacted you!

BTW, I nominated you for the Premio Dardas Award. Here's the link:

Ana S. said...

Definitely sounds like a great way to introduce younger readers to Anne's story. Fantastic review.

Iliana said...

So cool to see a joint review! Loved both of them.

I remember reading Anne Frank's diary probably around 12 or 13 years old. So powerful.

Amy said...

Great review. I should reread the diary. It's been a long time.

Corinne said...

Anna - I appreciate you telling me how old the girl is, because I was just going to ask if you thought it was good for my 8 1/2 year old. I think she's ready for it, we've brushed upon the topic but I think this would be a better way to lead the discussion. This period of history fascinates me too. Thanks so much for the review, I'd never heard of the book.

Jeannie said...

Thank you for reviewing this book, Anna. Anne's story should never be forgotten.

To the girl- Thank you for the great review. I hope that you do read her diary. Anne was a very sweet girl, just like you. Remembering her fondly is like thinking of her as a friend. I read Anne's diary when I was 12 and she has been my friend ever since. :D

Alyce said...

I still remember the first holocaust story I read when I was about ten years old; The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I think it's great that you shared this with your daughter.

My son is seven, but he is very sensitive, and so I don't think he'll be ready to learn about the holocaust for a few years yet.

The serious topic we've been talking about lately is slavery, which stemmed from a conversation about our first African American (black) president.

My son didn't know what black was. He had heard about slavery from reading the Bible, but he hadn't learned about the history of slavery in the U.S. yet. I just thought it was cool that my son hadn't learned to make a skin color differentiation. To him Obama was just the next president. But I couldn't pass up the teaching opportunity, so we talked a bit about race and history, and then about how all people are equal and the same regardless of what their skin color is. That we all have skin that is shades of the same color.

Sorry, didn't mean to write a book here. :) Great review of the Anne story!

The Bookworm said...

wonderful review. I remember reading The Diary of Anne Frank in grammer school, it moved me very much. Reading her diary entries made her feel like a friend.

Great review from The Girl, glad you liked it and learned from it too :)

Carol in Oregon said...

I didn't know that Anne and Margot could have been sent to England.

Our family just watched a documentary about stories of the Kindertransport. They interviewed many of the (now older) people who were sent away. They expressed such a feeling of abandonment; and yet they survived while so many children kept with their families in Germany and Poland were gassed.

Anna, reading your review makes me want to read this book. Thank you!

Carol in Oregon

Shana said...

Anna, I agree that no matter how many books I read about the Holocaust, it never loses it's ability to devastate me.


Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I haven't heard of this one, but I'll definitely have to check it out. I read Anne Frank's Diary as well as Anne Frank Remembered last year, so this sounds like a great companion piece.

The Girl: I hope you get to read Anne's diary someday soon. She was an amazing girl, but in many ways she was just a normal girl who wanted to live a normal life.

Luanne said...

I think everyone should know of Anne Frank. This does sound like a good one for this age group to introduce this part of history.
The Girl - I'm glad you liked the book. It's great to read it with your mom. I enjoyed your review!

Marie Cloutier said...

Wow, what a great review of a tough but valuable book. Thanks!

Literary Feline said...

Anne Frank's story is one that has stuck with me for a number of years now. This sounds like an interesting book--a good way to open up a difficult time in our history with an older child. Thank you for your great review, Anna.

Anna said...

The Girl says "Thank you" to all of your for your nice comments on her review. She is eager to learn more about this part of history.

Dar: Thanks! There are several books on the Holocaust in the kid's section at our library. We started this one because it was already in our house, thanks to a Christmas gift from her Auntie Serena.

Serena: The book still focuses on the horrors inflicted upon the Jews and others in the camps, just doesn't show the haunting pictures that some other books have. She insists she wasn't crying, but I know her better than she thinks I do.

Susan: I hate having to explains these things to her. She doesn't get why differences are a big deal, and I wish we were all like children in this respect. I always say the world would be a boring place if we were all the same.

Teddy Rose: Yes, it did have a major impact, and it was only a children's book. I'm sure some of the other books I've selected for the challenge will have me in tears. And thanks so much for the award!

Nymeth: Thanks! I especially like how the book got her to think and ask questions. We had some great discussions while reading it.

Iliana: You'll see more joint reviews down the road. She's participating in the WWII challenge, but since she's only 8 and it's a heavy subject, I told her we'd be reading them together.

Amy: Me, too.

Corinne: I don't think the book is suitable for every 8 year old, but it sounds like your daughter is ready to explore the topic more, as you've already broached it. I think it might have been too much for my daughter to handle if she hadn't known anything about the Holocaust before reading it.

Jeannie: You're right about Anne seeming like a friend. When you read someone's diary, their innermost thoughts, it's hard not to feel attached to them.

Alyce: Thanks for sharing your story. I'm fascinated with the innocence of children in this respect, and I wish we could retain some of it as adults.

Naida: Thanks! I hope my daughter gets a chance to read it, too.

Magistramater: I didn't know that the Franks had the England option either until reading this book. That documentary sounds very interesting.

Shana: That's so true.

Trish: I remember reading your reviews. Anne Frank Remembered is one I hope to read someday.

Luanne: I agree. Stories like Anne Frank's should never be forgotten.

Marie: Thanks. It certainly was both tough and valuable.

Literary Feline: I think once you read Anne Frank's story and the many others like hers, they never leave you.

Anonymous said...

Anna and The Girl - I really admire that you're doing the WW2 Challenge together!

I hadn't known of this book until I read the snippet of your review over at the *War thru the Generations* site. Thanks for introducing it to us.

I'd like to re-read *Diary of a Young Girl* this year ... I haven't read it since middle school, I think.

Jeanette said...

I read everything I could get my hands on about Anne Frank when I was younger. Lately I've been feeling a desire to read the more recent books that have come out and re-read some of the ones I read years ago. Thanks for this review and bringing the book to my attention.

Anna said...

Dawn: The Girl asked to sign up, and I was thrilled. I enjoy sharing books with her, and I'm glad that I'm the one introducing her to this period in history. She went to her librarian after we read this book, and she brought home Anne's diary. Not sure if we'll get to it this time, but I'd love to read it again soon.

Jeannette: I'd be curious to see how your thoughts on the books have changed over time.

Gibby said...

So glad I found this post. My 8YO daughter has been reading about WWII for some time now (thanks to her interest in the American Girl Molly) and has been wanting to read about Anne Frank. I have been hesitant to let her do so, because I have yet to find an appropriate book for her age. I will definitely check this one out.

Anna said...

Gibby: Thanks for stopping by my blog. I definitely think this would be a good book to introduce a youngster to Anne Frank's story. It doesn't sugar-coat the events, but it doesn't provide graphic descriptions either.