Anne Frank’s diary provides a first-person account of the struggles an adolescent girl faces as her family hides from the Nazis within the terrifying setting of an overcrowded annex.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
Danish resistance during the Holocaust is explored in the context of global efforts to thwart the Nazis during World War II.
Introduce this text before students begin reading the book, in order to provide them with historical and cultural context for the time period that Frank’s account is set in. Ask students to contrast the individuals who chose to help the Jews and other Nazi victims, with those who chose not to take any stance towards the genocide. Ask students to consider the efforts of the Danes in their active resistance to the Nazis and their support of the Jews. What do you think the Danes motivations were? As students read Anne Frank’s diary, ask them to consider those who helped the Franks and others, as well as what they stood to lose and gain from doing so.
Linda Pastan’s “Egg” requires students to examine how a simple egg can symbolize more complex ideas in our world.
Introduce this poem after students have read the diary entries through November 11, 1943, in order to draw their focus to the figurative language employed in the diary. Through a cross-genre analysis, have students draw a comparison between the annex and the eggshell, and their connections to Anne’s desire to fly away and the baby birds in Pastan’s poem. Ask students to analyze the metaphors and symbolism in the poem. How is the eggshell similar to the annex? How is Anne’s fountain pen, like the first crack of lightning in the poem, an example of foreshadowing?
After a year spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, Harry Potter returns to his non-magical family for the summer, where he must endure his family treating him badly because they fear his powers.
Have students read this passage after reading through the January 28, 1944 entry, to further explore the ideas of captivity and isolation. Both Harry and Anne, at this point, are dreaming of escape and are tired of the people they are forced to live with. Harry’s magic and Anne’s Judaism are markers they wish people could look past. Harry misses the opportunity to celebrate his birthday, as Anne does the winter Jewish holidays. Ask students to discuss Harry and Anne’s desires for freedom. What does each individual experience that keeps them from their ideal status? What are Anne and Harry missing out on?
In a 2015 interview with Smithsonian Magazine, teen Alexis Lewis discusses her success as an inventor and why more kids should be inventors.
Before reading Anne’s entries for March - April 11, 1944, have students read this text to preface reading about Anne’s interest in publishing her diary. The text indicates that inventors are those who wish to change the world and solve problems. Ask students: What characteristics do young inventors have? What is the relationship between the young inventors and the troubles of the world? How is an author like an inventor? As students read, have them consider Anne’s role as an “inventor” of change.
This informational text explores the events of World War II as experienced by Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl whose life was permanently changed by the war.
Have students read this text once they’ve completed the book. This can provide an opportunity for reflection on the impact of the diary and the symbolism of Anne’s death for the millions of other lives cut short. Have students evaluate the personal and wider historical impact of reading the diary, as well as the statement “Anne Frank has become a symbol for the lost promise of the children who died in the Holocaust.” Why is this text particularly impactful for young school students? How do students connect with Anne and her story?
While Anne Frank has been gone over 70 years, her optimistic words still console many today.
Introduce this text after students have completed the book, to discuss the life of Anne Frank and the legacy she has left on the world. Ask students to reflect on Diary of a Young Girl after they have read Simon’s article. How has Anne’s account of her life become a symbol of hope despite how she died? Why do you believe Panahi and Afghan chose to read that particular passage of Anne’s diary? What aspects of the diary are you most inspired by?