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SHADOW LIFE by Barry Denenberg


A Portrait of Anne Frank and Her Family

by Barry Denenberg

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-439-41678-7
Publisher: Scholastic

A line taken out of context from Anne Frank’s diary (“in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart”) is too often used to turn Anne’s story into something uplifting. Denenberg provides a valuable resource that takes readers beyond the diary into the concentration camps, where Anne’s brief life ended horribly. The unusual, three-part structure of the volume includes an account of Anne’s early years, a fictional recreation of the diary kept by Margot, Anne’s older sister, and an oral history of the last months of the Frank family in the voices of the survivors of Westerbork, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen, people who were there with Anne and her family members. The essence of Anne’s story is not in any uplifting sentiment, but in demonstrating how an ordinary girl can become the victim of hate and violence. If Anne’s story helps us see that each life is precious, “then the diary that Anne was given can be a gift to us, too.” (introduction, chronology, source notes, bibliographical essay, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)