Friday 8th May 2020 marks 75 years Anniversary of VE Day. As I sit in my flat during lockdown, in unprecedented times, I think about a completely different kind of war and how it must have felt to live in that situation. I can’t even begin to comprehend it. This is where books come in, they can take us to a place in time or a person’s life, and although we may never truly understand the experience of living in this time, it’s the very best way to understand, learn and empathise with those who did.
Anne Frank is one such icon and her incredible story of tenacity and bravery is one of the most human stories to come out of World War Two. Because Anne’s story is written in her own words it is one of the greatest stories to share with children to help them empathise and experience life during the war.
The Life of Anne Frank written by Kay Woodward, published by Welbeck Publishing in association with Anne Frank House is a recent publication created to really extend the learning and understanding for children of Anne Frank’s remarkable story offering something that other books don’t.
This non-fiction book comprehensively covers numerous subjects regarding the story of Anne Frank, from her early life, the start of the war, the Annex and secret space where Anne resided to people who helped and the final conclusions. It’s all really nicely laid out, told choronologically for ease of understanding, with many photos and graphics interspersed to add interest and context to the writing. It’s nicely done and for older children will make the perfect partner book to the Diary and for younger children a great introduction to Anne Frank.
But what is so special about this book over other Anne Frank non-fiction? This edition has an extra special feature of a folder, in the style of Anne Frank’s diary, the contains mementos, documents and sheets to fill in to aid learning, understanding and empathise surrounding Anne Frank’s story. It’s a really well thought out and exemplary addition to the book, and for those of you currently teaching from home, this is as good as it gets. The activities in the folder are wonderful as they take Anne’s experiences and transfer them to an activity that is pertinent to children today and something they can identify with. There’s a letter writing task, book review activity, even a movie task related to Anne Frank’s love of movie stars. It’s so nicely put together and provides extensive scope for further understanding.
Some of the mementos include a ration book, Anne’s favourite magazine cover and some spirograph drawings she created. Everything has an explanation and a link back to Anne to aid teaching and interest in the subject.
The book and folder of activities slot beautifully into an outer sleeve creating a gorgeous book that can be kept, used and treasured.
I’m such a huge fan of books that contain interactive elements. For children in particular these bring a story to life and Show a real person behind a story, and someone not dissimilar to them, and that is how we build empathy and understanding. It is clear that this has been put together with love, knowledge and a keen desire to really get to the heart of Anne Frank and the other 6 million Jews who were tragically killed in the holocaust.
As we celebrate today, an end to the most horrific of attrocities, a time we can never truly comprehend. As we celebrate a better life, one of freedom, one without war, it’s important too, to always remember and recognise those who lived through this, those who bravely fought, and those people, just like you or I, who sadly died. This book remembers them.
The Life of Anne Frank and activity pack is available to purchase now from all good bookshops.
Thank you to for reading this Book Monster review.