Monday, April 20, 2015

Teaching the Diary of Anne Frank: A Review and a Giveaway!

The first thing I noticed about Susan Moger’s book, Teaching the Diary of Anne Frank: An In-Depth Resource for Learning About the Holocaust Through the Writings of Anne Frank was her personal connection to Anne’s story. Here are the opening words to the preface:
I was born the day Anne Frank went into hiding-July 6, 1942. When I first read The Diary of a Young Girl, I was 13, the same age as Anne when she started her diary. That combination of events, and the fact that I, too, kept a diary, forged a connection between Anne and me. (p. 5)
The second thing I noticed was the book’s superb organization. Beginning with a lengthy note to teachers on how to use the book and  ending with “Resources and References” which is divided by grade level, the author has created a classroom resource which will make reading A Diary of a Young Girl not only memorable, but also a starting point for a learning unit with historical and sociological implications. 

Ms. Moger worked hard to show the historical context of Anne Frank’s life. But that broad worldview is balanced with personal snapshots showing how Anne was a “normal” teenager in an abnormal time. The book's timeline reflects this by showing what was going on in the Frank family in correspondence with world events.

Each of the five chapters incorporate resource pages amplifying the author's mission: to teach young people about the Holocaust so that Anne Frank's legacy will influence present and future generations.

You'll have to get the book to appreciate the depth of resources which Susan assembled in this curriculum resource. I can't begin to showcase her project suggestions, response journal topics, thought provoking discussion questions, and excerpts from Holocaust survivors. Here are just a few examples which spoke to me.

This map is similar to the one reproduced in the book. If you click on this website you can see a succession of maps showing the progression of German occupation.


This photograph captures Anne and her dream of one day becoming a journalist or a writer.


National-Socialist German Workers' Party
Party Secretariat
Head of the Party Secretariat  Fuehrer Headquarters,                         July 11, 1943 
Circular No. 33/43 g.

Re: Treatment of the Jewish Question

On instructions from the Fuehrer I make known the following:
Where the Jewish Question is brought up in public, there may be no discussion of a future overall solution.

It may, however, be mentioned that the Jews are taken in groups for appropriate labor purposes.

signed M. Bormann

Distribution: Reichsleiter
Group leaders
File Reference: Treatment/Jews

Source: Documents on the Holocaust, Selected Sources on the
Destruction of the Jews of Germany and Austria, Poland and the Soviet

Union, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1981, Document no.160. p.342.

This is one of several documents used in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg trials. Ms. Moger also devotes several resource pages and discussion questions on the topic of doublespeak and euphemisms.


            A Dead Child Speaks
                         by Nelly Sachs

My mother held me by my hand.
Then someone raised the knife of parting:
So that it should not strike me,
My mother loosed her hand from mine.
But she lightly touched my thighs once more
And her hand was bleeding –

After that the knife of parting
Cut in two each bite I swallowed –
It rose before me with the sun at dawn
And began to sharpen itself in my eyes –
Wind and water ground in my ear
And every voice of comfort pierced my heart –

As I was led to death
I still felt in the last moment
The unsheathing of the great knife of parting.

(Translated by Ruth &Matthew Mead)
Holocaust Poetry: Compiled and Introduced by Hilda Schiff.

I read the Diary of Anne Frank over fifty years ago and I still remember some of the feelings it evoked in me. Photocopies of actual pages from the diary startled me. Of course I knew that her journal was a hand-written account and not a typed paperback. But seeing her handwriting and the photos she inserted with her comments, connected me to my younger self who kept a diary because that’s what Anne Frank did. It made me wonder: how many other young women and writers have been inspired by Anne’s example?

The Diary of a Young Girl is a classic book appreciated by readers young and old.  Hopefully this curriculum supplement will continue to facilitate Anne’s purpose: to document a piece of history that the world can’t afford to forget.  

Ms. Moger is giving away an autographed copy of this award-winning book. A perfect addition to any school or home school library, I hope my faithful blog readers will share this post with teachers and/or enter on behalf of a local school. To enter, please leave me a comment by April 23. Make sure you leave me your email address if you are new to this blog.
If your class is studying the Holocaust, here are several other books on the topic which I have reviewed on this blog:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Rose Under Fire
Liesl's Ocean Rescue
Prisoner of Night and Fog 

Visit Anne Frank Foundation for more pictures of Anne and her family.

Visit for interviews about Anne's diary.

Read Annexed by Sharon Doger for a fictionalized story about Peter Van Pels.


Julie said...

The Diary of Anne Frank was the first non-fiction book I read when I was around 10 years old. Teaching the Diary of Anne Frank looks to be a great tool for teaching a difficult topic. I had the opportunity to visit The Anne Frank house two years ago and it was a moving experience. If anyone ever has the opportunity to go, I highly recommend visiting the Dutch Resistance Museum first to round out the experience.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Julie for being the first to leave a comment! Please leave me your email address in case you win this giveaway!

Vijaya said...

I was 10 when I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I didn't know anything about the Holocaust and I was shattered when I learned what happened at the end, and it was the beginning of the end of my faith (I lost it at 12). Now, you know that the hounds of God never gave up on me, but I am so glad Susan Moger has written a book that helps grownups to discuss this book. I will definitely be checking this one out. Next school year, Max (16) will be taking a Holocaust history class.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

My first introduction to Anne Frank and this horrible page in human history was seeing the movie The Diary of Anne Frank. During my years as a public librarian, one of the most requested books was Anne's diary and it was on many required reading lists. It should be read by EVERYONE.
Thank you Carol for another wonderful review and giveaway!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Vijaya and Connie. This book has left its imprint on many readers!

Susan Moger said...

Thanks so much, Carol! I enjoyed your terrific review of my book and especially value your including examples of the resource materials found in its pages. Your giveaway is an inspired component of this review!
I'm spreading the word through FB, Twitter, and email.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Susan! It was my pleasure-- I love promoting good books like yours!

Julie said...

Hi Carol, e-mail address is

Linda A. said...

What a great gift for today, tomorrow, and always. I will post to FB and tell a librarian friend I know about it. If I should win, I will donate it to a local school library. Thanks for sharing this great post and thanks to the author for this tremendous resource and giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, LInda. Yes--it's a great book. APpreciate you sharing it on FB and with your friend.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I would LOVE to have this book - I'm not teaching now but I do visit schools and I would spread the word to teachers!

I always cite Diary of a Young Girl as the book that opened my eyes to the world of sorrow and also was responsible for me writing historical fiction.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JOyce. I thought of you when I was reading this. I knew it was the type of book you would love.

Linda Phillips said...

Thanks for this very informative review, and I can see more than one reason why you loved this book. I don't need to be entered but enjoyed the post.

Rosi said...

Wow. This sounds like a fantastic resource. I did love teaching that book and wish I'd had such a resource at the time I was teaching. It would have made it a much richer experience. If I'm lucky enough to win the book, I will donate it to my granddaughter's charter school for their teachers to use. Thanks for telling me about it and for the chance to win.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rosi and Linda. Rosi--your name is in the hat!

Susan Moger said...

Thanks, Carol, for reviewing and for the giveaway. I'm excited to spread the word about my book to new readers, teachers and students. Feeling proud and humbled too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Happy to host you, Susan, and to tell others about your book!

Peggy said...

I am drawn to this book because of several factors: this blog piece itself, the fact that Susan and I were classmates at college over 50 years ago, how much like my sister Anne Frank looks in the photograph, and because as a importance of quality curriculum former teacher, I know the guides. I can tell that this guide is one of great depth and power and will help children and their teachers dig deep, not just into history, but into themselves.

Susan Moger said...

Thanks Peggy, I think one of the middle sentences lost some words: I think the end of the sentence should read:
"...because as a former teacher I know the importance of quality curriculum guides."
Your message is lovely, and I am very grateful you posted!

Carol Baldwin said...

No worries, Peggy. It was a lovely comment!

Anonymous said...

Carol, I am catching up on blogs. Thank you for sharing Susan's book. These pages are riveting and leave such an impression on one's heart. Anne Frank's story resonates with middle schoolers because she was their age. What a wonderful resource so that our younger generation will never forget so that this evil is not repeated.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for being such a faithful blog reader, Kathleen. I think the age identification is huge. You're right. tells us something as writers, doesn't it?

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