June 18, 2019

Enough with the Kids' Books About Anne Frank

“The year so far has brought us two new picture books about Anne Frank: The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank by David Lee Miller and Steven Jay Rubin, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, and Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg.

There’s been a huge boom in Anne Frank kidlit in recent years. Anne is even beating Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the subject of at least seven books for young readers in three years. Last year alone brought us five Anne books, including an entry in the “Little People, Big Dreams” series for very young children by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, as well as the well-reviewed Anne Frank: The Graphic Edition. In the last three years we’ve seen two picture books about Anne from the perspective of a tree. And while there are three Holocaust picture books narrated by felines, The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank is the only one that is narrated by the cat who lived with Anne Frank.

A few years ago, young adult readers got Annexed by Sharon Dogar, which did not have a talking cat or a tree but did retell the story from Peter’s perspective—not just what happened in the annex, but also afterward, up until Peter’s death in Auschwitz. One of its four starred reviews gushed: “The lines between written record, educated guess, and fictional construct are fascinatingly blurred here.” Such line-blurring is, for some of us, more dismaying than fascinating. Also, Anne Frank’s surviving cousin hated the sex scene.”

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