I am Anne Frank – Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

 I am Anne Frank – Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2020. 9780525555940

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

 Genre: picture book biography

 What did you like about the book?  A cartoon version of Anne Frank shares her story, along with some kid-friendly background information about the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich, in a series of comic book style panels, complete with speech bubble dialogue.  Beginning with her early childhood, readers follow Anne and her family as the laws impacting Jews become more and more restrictive, ultimately forcing the Franks into hiding in the Secret Annex.  The little narrator espouses hope and optimism despite the grim circumstances, and this positive outlook is reflected in excerpts from Anne’s diary.  The narrative ends with the family still in hiding, leaving the conclusion of the story to be told by a diverse group of modern-day people assembled on the sidewalk in front of the Anne Frank House museum.    

Some may be leery of such a serious and somber topic as the Holocaust being told in a comic book format.  The earth-toned illustrations are not as ‘cutesy’ as in other books in the series, and there aren’t side characters making silly little jokes as can be found in other entries.  In the text of the book, Meltzer handles the most difficult aspects – such as describing the concentration camps – gently and respectfully, and makes the history accessible to the intended audience of 7 and 8 year olds.  It is an age-appropriate treatment of this delicate subject and provides back matter for those young readers that might wish to learn more: a timeline, including photographs of Anne and a page from the diary, and a list of recommended reading.

 To whom would you recommend this book? Many kids are fascinated by the story of Anne Frank, and this is an easy entry-level introduction.  Frequent readers of the Ordinary People Change the World will welcome this new installment.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Biographies

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: 12/4/2020

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