Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

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Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Trans. B.M. Moovaart-Doubleday. 1952. New York: Bantam, 1993. Print. 

 

Annotation:

In 1942, Holland, thirteen-year-old, Jewish girl Anne Frank and her family flee their home in fear of being relocated and eventually killed by the Nazis. Living in the “Secret Annexe” for the next two years, Anne writes in her diary about the hardships of living in hiding and the terror of being discovered, while also expressing the dreams, ideals, and love of any young girl.

Awards: NA

Review:

“For in its innermost depths youth is lonelier than old age.” I read this saying in some book and I’ve always remembered it, and found it to be true…Older people have formed their opinions about everything…It’s twice as hard for us young ones to hold our ground, and maintain our opinion, in a time when all ideals are being shattered and destroyed, when people are showing their worst side, and do not know whether to believe in truth and right and God (p. 263).

Is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl a well regarded and beloved work because of the time period it represents or for the girl herself? To make the argument for the latter, Anne Frank lived a life that was nightmarish and tragic. Nonetheless, her thoughts and reflection of her world are profound and astonishing.  Who was this girl that lived two dreadful years in cloistered quarters, but saw humility and evil so clearly? Her articulation of the pain that comes from war and hate is so beyond her years. However, even with her wise perception, Anne was a normal girl who had the same needs of any girl her age. Tragically, she was never given the chance to live the life she so desired.

 Hitler or the Nazis viewed Anne Frank and her people as a threat that needed to be destroyed. The action to dehumanize her failed because, as her own words touchingly express, she was very human and worthy for life. Timeless and probably the most moving account of despair, The Diary of a Young Girl should be required reading for all thirteen and fourteen year olds.

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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt

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Schmidt, G.D. (2004). Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. New York: Clarion Books.

Annotation: A minister’s son and a girl from a poor community of former slaves form a friendship. Through their interactions they learn about racial inequality and the consequences one faces trying to fight prejudice.

 Awards:  

Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book – 2005

ALA Best Book for Young Adults – 2005

Newbery Honor Book – 2005

Review: Young Turner Buckminister moves to Maine with his minister father. Unable to play baseball with the other boys, Turner believes his life cannot get worse. Then, he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from Malaga Island. Their unlikely friendship takes a turn when plans have been made to remove the Lizzie’s people off the island.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy has elements that make it more compatible with juvenile fiction than young adult fiction; hence, why it is recommended for children 10 and up. The scenario of an unlikely, but innocent friendship along the backdrop of a not so simple world is thematic to juvenile fiction. However, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminister Boy departs from this classification by courageously embracing death and tragedy. In other words, because of the novel’s realistic approach to adult issues, it segues into young adult fiction by intensely touching upon the ageless challenge of wanting to belong in a not so welcoming world. In spite of of its heartwarming story, the narrative, at times, is unnecessarily detailed. So much so, that quite a bit of it can be removed from the text.  Without all this excess, the reader would still have a clear and precise understanding of the characters and situation.

Forever…by Judy Blume

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Blume, Judy. Forever… New York: Simon & Sister, 1975.

Annotation: Teenagers Michael and Katherine meet on New Year’s Eve. They fall in love, have a sexual relationship, and then eventually separate.

Award: ALA 1996 Margaret A. Edwards Award

Review: Judy Blume’s Forever… tells the story of first love and the trial and tribulations that form from such a union. High school students, Michael and Katherine fall for each other one New Year’s Eve. Their bond is powerful. To them, nothing can keep them apart. However, in time, Michael and Katherine have to separate. It is during these months while Katherine is at summer camp she deals with heartbreak and moving on from an intimate relationship.

This classic young adult novel truthfully examines the innocence of young love, while also detailing the young couple’s sexual relationship. Controversial for its explicitness, Forever… carefully explains the necessity for birth control. However, because the novel was originally printed in the seventies, sexually transmitted diseases were not, for the most part, an issue. Even so, newer editions have a forward written by Blume discussing the risks of these types of diseases and the initiatives one should take to prevent exposure. Regardless of the mature content, Forever…is a simplistically written work intended for high school students. Even though teenagers today will find the sexual details realistic and informative, however, the narrative and characters are colorless and bland. Overall, it is a work more noted for its unequivocal content than the execution of those details.