| Jun 12, 2012
PUTTING BOOKS TO WORK
BY AIMEE ROGERS ANNE FRANK: THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AUTHORIZED GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY (Hill and Wang, 2010)
Jun 12, 2012
Written by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
Seventh Grade and Up
ANNE FRANK: THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AUTHORIZED GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY is the familiar story of Anne Frank in a new and compelling format. Jacobson and Colon tell the complete story of Anne Frank from her birth on June 12, 1929 to her death in March 1945 at Bergen-Belsen. Anne’s own immortal words, from her diary, are used to describe her life in hiding in the “Secret Annex.”
Her words are paired with illustrations that provide readers with a visual representation of the eight hiders and the events in their lives. Anne’s zest for life is captured in her broad, and often mischievous, smile; her moments of struggle during hiding as she grows and develops into a young woman who yearns for freedom are also reflected in her expertly rendered facial expressions.
Jacobson and Colon’s dedication to accuracy is documented in their acknowledgements to those that aided in their research, particularly the Anne Frank House, the chronology provided at the end of the book, and in reproductions of the actual photographs used as the basis for the graphic representations. Anne’s life—and death—are situated within history through “snapshots,” which are descriptions, both verbal and visual, of the historical events that occurred before and during Anne’s life that ultimately lead to her death and the deaths of millions of others.
The power of this graphic novel is in its wide appeal and its ability to capture the essence of Anne Frank. Those who are intimately acquainted with the story of Anne Frank and her diary will no doubt discover additional depths to Anne’s story through this work. Readers who are less familiar with Anne Frank will gain insights into the heart of a young woman and an understanding of the events leading up to and during a dark time in the world’s history. Cross-curricular Connections
: history/social studies, visual literacy, math, writing, art Ideas for Classroom Use: Living and Hiding in 700 Square Feet (Grades 6-8)
The dimensions of the “Secret Annex” at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam are provided on page 73. For example, Anne and Margot’s room was 16.57 feet by 6.86 feet. The entire annex was less than 700 feet and housed eight people for more than two years.
In order to provide students with a sense of the size of the annex and an opportunity to practice skills in both measurement and mathematics, have groups of students measure out and mark the dimensions of each room in the annex. If a large space is available, this can be done in a way to accurately reproduce the space by placing the rooms exactly as they were in the annex. A cutaway of the annex building is provided on page 51.
An extension of this activity could involve a comparison between the students’ living spaces and those of the secret annex. This could be extended even further by calculating the percentages of the differences in sizes between the students’ living spaces and that of the eight hiders. For example, a student might discover that her bedroom is 33% larger than the room shared by Anne and Margot and later Anne and Mr. Pfeffer. Historical Snapshots (Grades 6-12)
Throughout this graphic biography of Anne Frank’s life, Jacobson and Colon provide “Snapshots” of historical events that lead to WWII and that occurred during Anne’s lifetime. Students can research and create their own historical “snapshots” of additional events during this time period. The events could be related directly to Anne’s life or more broadly to WWII.
As Jacobson and Colon provide both written and visual information in their “snapshots,” students could also be required to provide visual information in the form of illustrated panels or some other visual means as well. Conveying Moods and Emotions through Illustrations (Grades 6-12)
The purpose of this activity is to develop and hone students’ visual literacy skills. Many theorists in the field of comics and graphic novels, including Scott McCloud (UNDERSTANDING COMICS), discuss the importance of “reading” and understanding visual images. Jacobson and Colon convey numerous moods and emotions in their illustrations through a variety of techniques including color, line, and shape.
Ask students to identify two sections in the graphic biography that show different emotions. Guide students through an examination of how the emotions are conveyed in the two sections. Pose such questions as:
- Are particular colors used to illustrate this emotion?
- How do the selected colors make you feel?
- Do the lines vary based on the portrayed emotion (for example, big, bold, long, short, thin)?
- Are particular shapes used to convey the different emotions?
This activity could be extended by having students use some of the methods they uncovered in their examination to illustrate an emotion or mood. Additional Resources and Activities: Macmillan Teacher’s Guide to ANNE FRANK: THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AUTHORIZED GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY
Macmillan, the publisher of ANNE FRANK: THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE AUTHORIZED GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY, has created a teacher’s guide for use with this text. The guide includes additional information about Anne Frank, the authors, and the text itself. In addition, the guide provides questions that can be used to facilitate discussions about the text and the events of WWII. Classroom activities are also suggested. The Secret Annex Online
One of the highlights of this website is the ability to take a 3D tour of the secret annex. Visitors can explore the various rooms of the annex from all angles while a narrator provides information about each room and occupant. Each room also provides opportunities to follow further links to information about additional events both inside and outside of the annex. Anne Frank Received her Famous Diary in 1942
This ReadWriteThink calendar event marks Anne’s birthday, June 12, 1942, as the date she received her diary, which she named “Kitty.” The site includes links to activities and additional resources regarding Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and sources for eyewitness accounts. We Remember Anne Frank
This online project, created by Scholastic, provides students and teachers with an opportunity to learn about Anne Frank through the eyes of two people that knew her, Miep Gies and Hanneli Pick-Goslar. Miep Gies was one of Otto Frank’s employees who helped to hide those in the secret annex. Hanneli Pick-Goslar was a childhood friend of Anne and later encountered Anne at a work camp. “We Remember Anne Frank” provides links to photo-stories, time lines and interviews. In addition, this online project provides lesson outlines and suggestions. Aimee Rogers is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota studying children’s and adolescent literature. Prior to her return to school, Aimee taught high school students with special needs, in a wide variety of settings, for ten years. She misses working with adolescences but is developing a passion for working with undergraduate pre-service teachers. She has a growing interest in graphic novels for children and young adults and is hoping to make them the topic of her dissertation. WANT TO WRITE FOR ENGAGE? Send your name, the grade level(s) you teach, the title of book that you put to work, and a line or two about how you use it in your classroom to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012 Aimee Rogers. Please do not reproduce in any form, electronic or otherwise.