The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank
Recommended reading age: 12 years and up
Lexile measure: 950L
Why we recommended
The historical information in Anne’s diary is valuable in understanding the timeline of the Second World War and the persecution of Jews in the Holocaust, topics often studied in history from secondary school. Yet Anne Frank’s diary holds much more value than simply as a factual document. Because it is written by a young girl, the book provides a personal insight into the events of the second World War in a way that is accessible and suited to readers of the same age. The diary recounts stories of friendships, school life and romantic interests. Therefore, though they may not have experienced Anne’s tragic childhood, teenagers will be able to identify with the typical frustrations, joys and desires of growing up that Anne describes in her diary, making the book a relatable and engaging read.
Readers will also gain an insight into how Nazi policies affected the day-to-day life of Jewish children and families — for example, Anne relates how she is only allowed to attend Jewish school, how her family’s possessions are often stolen and finally how they are forced to hide in a small attic for several years. This serves as an appropriate introduction to the Holocaust for young readers, and also provides a unique personal perspective for older readers already familiar with the facts of the World War.
Finally, the book’s descriptive and occasionally complex language help to expand readers’ vocabulary. Some parts may be challenging for younger readers to understand, but the events are easy to follow, and the familiar themes of family and friendship make Anne’s mature ideas understandable and relatable.
Questions and activities for readers