This is not going to be like our other book and a movie night. Much like with Zookeeper’s Wife, this is a serious topic and while I want us to have snacks as we watch the movie after reading the book, I don’t want to make light of a serious topic. Especially since this is listed on my 8th-grade books made into movies (though we read it in 11th grade when we studied World War II for the final time).
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Diary of Anne Frank controversy
It can’t be a classic book without there being controversy.
At some point, while she was in hiding, Anne Frank heard a news story saying to make sure to keep your diaries and journals because those could be important historical documents. After hearing that she began to consciously revise what she had already written, and write with publication in mind (in particular she edited out by gluing over material she did not want to be published because it was too personal).
Tragically, she was not able to see that through, but Miep saved the diary and gave it to Anne’s father after the war. He took it and revised the diary further. He changed a few things he thought were unfair to certain people in the annex, and removed things he thought would be embarrassing for a 13-year-old girl to publish (this in particular is important).
Fast forward several decades, and there start to be people saying, “There’s no way a 13-year-old wrote this, clearly it was written by someone after the fact. So the Anne Frank house decided to add back in some of the things her father had edited out. I believe this was called the Anne Frank Diary revised edition.
People were still crying out this couldn’t have been written by a child, and now people were aware there was material that still wasn’t published, like say things Anne Frank herself edited out, and the public cried out they deserved to know it all.
Yep, so they added everything back in, including the materials Anne Frank had personally covered up. Very private materials about her changing body and her new-found sexuality.
I just want to make sure you read that. The Anne Frank Foundation and publishers took away what little agency this child murdered in the Holocaust had by deciding to publish the parts she didn’t want to be published.
Yes, I am very bothered by this. Sadly, I contributed to this desecration of her memory by buying the Definitive Edition of the Diary of Anne Frank.
So, when searching for books look for older editions or make sure it’s not the Definitive Edition.
Here are a few Diary of Anne Frank editions I DO recommend:
- Diary of Anne Frank– this is the teacher-recommended edition
- Diary of Anne Frank– this looks like it’s a slightly older edition, but I cannot verify this
Let’s talk Diary of Anne Frank book club
Oh my goodness! So we did this Anne Frank book club over a year ago and in my mind we did a 7Sisters literature guide, and I spent way too long searching for that to realize, nope it wasn’t there. So I thought, maybe it was from Hide the Chocolate (linking to their free book clubs for you to check out).
This meant we just sat and talked once a week as we read it. I gave them assignments to read through on certain dates, and on that Friday we talked.
We talked about what it was like being in the Secret Annex.
We talked about how people change, as that is a prominent part of the book.
We talked about the stress of hiding in the Secret Annex, and how draining it must be.
We talked about assumptions the adults made with the teens. That was a frequent frustration Anne had.
We also talked a lot about the edition we read and our opinions of changes.
But, since I really want to be able to give specific discussion questions, here are some questions I found:
- general Anne Frank questions
- knowledge questions– most of these questions are very much did you read the book questions
- Socratic Discussion
- US Holocaust Museum lesson
I would also suggest checking out the Anne Frank house.
Anne Frank tour
Part of the timing of our Diary of Anne Frank book club was a traveling Anne Frank tour. A local library had a traveling exhibit with a model of the house including the Secret Annex, copies of newspapers from the time, a replica of her diary (so cool to see, now that I would love to read, a replica of the diary in the state she left it in), and then a timeline of her life, finally ending with reactions to her story and the current Anne Frank foundation movements.
We had a volunteer docent, who I might have slightly ticked off because she had a few facts wrong, and had a bit of a myopic view of history, so she asked what happened in 1492 besides Columbus sailed the ocean blue. I answered the Reconquista, you know when Ferdinand and Isabella united Spain and finished expelling the Moors from Spain. This wasn’t the answer she wanted, and she was annoyed anyone had an answer besides the start of the Spanish Inquisition.
But, it was a great field trip.
Diary of Anne Frank movie night snacks
In my research into the Diary of Anne Frank I found a listing of a special meal they had one day, and decided to base our snacks on this meal to the best of my ability. There is a giant emphasis on to the best of my ability and understanding of what these dishes are.
I am not going to attempt the words from the original list, I know I would spell something wrong. I did on the labels.
- cake recipe- I used a vanilla cupcake recipe
- roast beef- I literally rolled up slices of roast beef with tooth picks to make it fancy
- Salade Hollandaise- I have no clue what this salad is, so I just mixed together a simple salad
- potatoes- I recognized this was in french because it greatly amuses me it literally means apple of the earth, we roasted potatoes
- cake recipe- no, like there are two cakes listed, I opted to frost the second set
- surprise- since we didn’t know what that was, we grabbed a random assortment of desserts I had extras of
- coffee with sugar and rum- coke
- gravy- I could have made gravy, but I thought it was funny to call this Dr Pepper, my kids rolled their eyes
- soup- I didn’t feel like making soup, and Superman really loves Blue Powerade, so I bought that
- rice- I forgot to make this
- salad Richelieu- no clue what this is, and I was not successful in finding any descriptions
We checked out the Diary of Anne Frank mini-series from the library and sat down to watch it. There is also a 1950s (I think) movie, that is very good. I think the movie is a filmed version of the play.
All in all, I think I achieved my goal with this book club, the kids got to think more about what it would have been like for those in the Holocaust.
More World War 2 learning ideas
I’ve written about World War 2 quite a lot, so here are a few more World War 2 ideas.