Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stephany's Review of A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (Mass Market Paperback)TitleA Diary of a Young Girl 

Author: Anne Frank

Publisher: Doubleday

Where I Got It: Library

Why I Read It: In honor of banned books week
Rating: 5 stars!!

In honor of Banned Books Week, I decided to read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. It's listed on the 2009-2010 list of the most challenged and/or banned books. When I first saw it on this list, I was completely dumbfounded!

Diary of a Young Girl is written as a diary when Anne gets it as a gift. She starts a diary talking about her life, goals, expectations, etc. It eventually goes into what it's like to have yourself and your entire family hidden away from Nazi's because you're a Jew. It talks about what it's like to be the front end of racism, how she and her family were treated, and how they had to hide. Unfortunately, they were found and they were taken to a concentration camp where she was brutally beaten, injured and soon died there. Her diary takes into the emotional and physical aspects of what she had to go through, and how she got through the little bit that she did.

My thoughts on this book is that it's a fantastic book. I read it in school (checked out from the schools library!) when I was younger, and just recently re-read it again! It teaches woman nowadays how to be strong in the lives we lead, how to grow and be young ladies and how no matter what life throws our way, we CAN get by! This books also teaches us about the history of World War II, Nazi's, Jews, and Concentration Camps. What's better then reading an actual diary about all of this, rather then a history book?  I do not think this book deserves to be on a challenged or banned book list. I feel as if those who DO want it banned, need to be less judgmental and more open minded. Why not let your kids read such an amazing book and  learn history all at the same time?

Why It's On The Banned And/Or Challenged Book List:

I found the 2009-2010 Banned Books list on the American Library Association's website. Here is a direct quote from their list as to why it was banned:

"Challenged at the Culpeper County, Va. public school (2010) by a parent requesting that her daughter not be required to read the book aloud. Initially, it was reported that officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary,one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, due to the complaint that the book includes sexual material and homosexual themes. The director of instruction announced the edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of Frank’s death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future despite the fact the school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints. The remarks set off a hailstorm of criticism online and brought international attention to the 7,600-student school system in rural Virginia.The superintendent said, however, that the book will remain a part of the English classes, although it may be taught at a different grade level. Source: Mar. 2010, pp. 57–58; May 2010, p. 107."

I just don't understand this at all. You don't want your kids reading such a book because of sexual material and homosexual themes? So I am assuming that you don't want your kids watching tv, or going outside in public where they can SEE these things happen on a daily basis. It's just a book that will teach your children history!!!! I feel like it's people who ban or challenge books that make others dislike reading. Whatever happened to our freedom to read and write as we choose? It just irks me. In my opinion, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl deserves 5 stars, and to never be banned or challenged!!! I will definitely allow my kids to read this book, in fact, if it's not a requirement for them to read it in school by the time I have kids, it will be required for them to read one summer between school years!!!


  1. I'm with you--it baffles me that this is banned! I remember reading this as a young girl but am in definite need of a re-read because I can't recall much of it at all!

  2. This is one of those books that I can't believe I've never read...I can't believe it was banned either...I like your thoughts on it!

  3. I really loved this book! I'm so surprised it was banned. History will repeat itself if we don't allow children to learn from it.

  4. My primary/elementary school always reads this with the ten year olds and I have no idea why it's been banned in some parts of the US. We read the full version and I recall no sexual/homosexual themes in it. Nothing more, I suppose, than a coming-of-age book like Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." To be honest, I'd have to say that parents are overanalysing what this book is about - it's about a teenage girl becoming a woman. I doubt there's anything in it that today's thirteen year olds don't already discuss between their friends!

  5. I've just re-read this too, and will hopefully be posting a review later today. I had completely forgotten the passages where those people must have taken issue - as it is clearly not the focus of the book and what it means overall.

  6. Great post! YAY for the Banned Books Week! I read this one in school as well....and what I find funny about was a religious private school, so really...if someone was going to have a problem with the content, it should have been there. O_o But no...they recognized it for the great work it is and the hard truths it teaches. Thanks for the reminder of this title....I myself am celebrating the week with a read through TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (yes, I'm's the first time I've read it)! Happy reading....

  7. This is a book that is very dear to me. I've read that edition with the scarlet cover, as well as the definitive and critical editions. I can definitely understand why the critical edition could be banned, and there are a few parts that could be "questionable" in the definitive. There is one section where Anne describes the anatomy of her sexual organs in great detail, which I believe was left out of that version with the scarlet cover (the abridged edition? I don't know.) As for me, I don't believe it should be banned, though I understand why some parents might find it questionable.

    Lastly, you say that this book "teaches woman nowadays how to be strong in the lives we lead, how to grow and be young ladies and how no matter what life throws our way, we CAN get by!"
    But the thing is ... Anne didn't get by, she was killed. That's what makes this book so striking and sad. I don't think she was trying to "teach" us how to be "young ladies," she was simply writing an honest and touching account of her life in the annex.

    Anyway, thanks for reviewing this book, it is certainly one of my favorites.

  8. Banning literature is just ridiculous. You need to parent your child, you can't take everything away.

    Books are for you to explore worlds and to learn. This book definitely needs to be read.

  9. This is a book that should be read by EVERYBODY, no exception!!!

  10. IngridLola... No, Anne didn't get by, but she DID get by to a certain extent, her and her family fought for who they were and what they believed in until she/they couldn't fight any longer. They didn't give up as soon as times got rough, they kept pushing as much and as far as they could. Which is where my point comes into play. Secondly, I didn't say and/or mean that she was TRYING to teach young woman, I said/was trying to say that it DOES teach us things. Whether or not that was the intention of this book/her diary, it still teaches us about her, her life struggles, her family, etc. Also, the part you're referring to where you said she talks about the anatomy of her sexual organs in great detail doesn't seem to be a big deal to me. If a child/teenager is going to eventually learn this stuff, why not from such a great book? He/she is obviously going to learn this stuff whether their parents want them to. I just think some parents/adults need to stop being so closed minded about certain issues.

    And GMR.. don't worry, you're not the only one who is/did slack on reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I just read it a few months ago!!

    Thanks everyone for your feedback!

  11. Stephany, thanks for replying to my comment. For the most part I agree with you on those first two points.

    When it comes to the sexuality, I don't think that it should be banned for that reason either. There are just some really fussy parents out there who think that if their kids read about anything sexual they are going to become raving sex addicts. The value of this book far outweighs anything of that sort, I think.

    Oh yeah, I also wanted to point out that the reason this book was challenged, according to your quote, was because one parent requested that her daughter not be required to read the book out loud. It is also referring to the definitive edition of the text, (the edition published on the fiftieth anniversary of her death) which does include the anatomy parts. If I was a young girl I might be embarassed to read those parts out loud as well.

    The trouble was in how the school responded to this incidident. Luckily it set off a "hailstorm of criticism online" which speaks well for the public.

    Anyway thanks again Stephany, I don't in any way mean to attack your review, I just think it's good to try to understand why and how exactly this book ended up being banned.

  12. I wouldn't have wanted to read that part out loud as a young girl either! lol. I remember how embarrassing it was to even talk about periods and stuff. Funny how, now, I wouldn't even think twice about reading something like that out loud!

    Good discussion! I'm finding it really interesting to learn about the reasons these books are banned and to think critically about these issues.

  13. I probably wouldn't have wanted to read that part out loud either, but sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do. I guess I could sort of see where the parent(s) was coming from in this instance, but still don't completely agree. And no worries, I enjoy the feedback and everyones point of view!! We all have our thoughts/opinions!


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