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The Diary of a Young Girl – A Review

Posted on June 9th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Read by: Anna/Central Library Teen Room

Teen Book of the Month (TBOM) discussion on June 12, 2013!

This book contains the diary of a young Jewish girl kept in hiding for several years during World War II. She’s trapped inside an attic-like living space along with her parents, her sister, another boy and his parents, as well as a dentist with whom she shares a bedroom. For the most part, one would think their living situation is quite normal. They have sit-down dinners, they listen to the news on the radio, do their laundry, and cook together. But they are not permitted to leave the building. The entrance to their hiding spot is covered with a fake bookcase so no one will realize where they are. She writes to her diary, calling it Kitty, as if it were a real person she could talk to. In it, she explains about life with all these people. She talks about what it’s like to have burglars break into the warehouse beneath them, afraid someone will find them in hiding, what it’s like when their food rations run down until they eat nearly the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Let’s not forget her budding romance with Peter, the only teenage boy stuck with them. And the arguments! The arguments between so many people trapped together, unable to get away does not make for a peaceful living situation, no matter how much it may seem to be peaceful at times.

This was hard to read. It seems as if nothing is happening, and indeed, they aren’t in the thick of things in the war. They are. And they aren’t. Unlike a lot of stories of the Jewish in WWII, they aren’t dragged off to a concentration camp. They go into hiding early so they can avoid being found and taken to a camp. What ends up happening is Anne growing up in a confined space with so many people, trying to become an independent teenager, which is not easy to do. She also falls for Peter, the older teenage boy, and struggles with her feelings for him as she grows older and closer to him. She argues with her mother and grows apart from her parents. Everything is told from her point of view so it’s easy to understand where her feelings are coming from. What’s hard sometimes is pulling back to see where the feelings of the others are coming from.

Only a few days after Anne’s last entry in her diary, the police and SS officers arrive and take everyone to a concentration camp where they were separated. The afterword tells the brief story of what happened to everyone living in the annex in hiding and those who were keeping them hidden. When reading her diary you come to know all these people only to learn of their horrific deaths shortly after. It was not easy to keep the tears at bay when learning this news. If it hadn’t been for Anne’s father, Otto Frank, her diary never would have gotten published. Her body is assumed buried with her sister’s in a mass grave at one of the concentration camps she was taken to. Her diary, Kitty, is all that’s left along with the house where she stayed hidden for so long.

When reading The Diary of a Young Girl, a good companion book is Anne Frank Her Life in Words and Pictures. This book has photographs of the secret annex where she lived with seven other people and two cats for several years. It’s most helpful to have those pictures in mind while reading her diary.

For more information on Anne Frank, the Anne Frank House museum website gives great insight on what happened to Anne’s father who survived the war and his reactions to reading her diary for the first time. You can also plan a visit to the house in Amsterdam. Here is the link to the website: http://www.annefrank.org/en/

TBOM 2013 Summer Reads!

Posted on May 9th, 2013 by Anna in Books, Events, Programs

The Teen Book of the Month (TBOM) group which meets once a month has chosen the next three books they will read over the summer! The group encourages anyone who has an interest in reading and discussing books to come, enjoy snacks, great conversations, and great company for an hour or two  once a month. Below you’ll find the books, as well as the dates and times of each discussion. Happy reading! And we hope you join us for one of these dates!

Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank will be discussed on June 12th at 3pm. June 12th happens to be Anne Frank’s birthday as well! So read the book between now and then and be ready to discuss the book and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate on the 12th.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.
In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short

shadowfell

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier will be discussed on July 3rd at 3pm.

Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill–a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk–Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.
During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death–but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

art of racing rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein will be discussed on August 14th at 3pm.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pull every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.