One non-fiction historical work (memoir or narrative non-fiction)
Bibliographic Information: Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Doubleday, 1967.
Anne Frank has a pretty typical girlhood, until the persecution of Jewish people began. Her family fled Germany to the Netherlands. When Germany invaded the Netherlands, the Franks were forced into hiding with another family. They pay attention to the war by listening to the radio. Anne writes her thoughts about the war in her diary. The news affects the mood of the adults; Amsterdam as a whole is suffering. Anne writes about her feelings of isolation, and about the volatile relationships she has with the adults in hiding. Her entries become deeper and more philosophical as she matures before her time, finding it difficult to understand why the Jewish people are being persecuted. The diary abruptly ends, because they are betrayed to the Nazis and arrested. Her father was the only survivor, and published Anne’s diary according to her wishes.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 1080; Accelerated Reader: 6.5
Qualitative Reading Analysis:
Anne writes very properly for a young teenager, and decides that her diary is her friend, whom she names Kitty. The sentence structure is mid-level, and most of the words are one- or two-syllable. Nevertheless, her tale is tragically enthralling.
Content Area: Social Science, World History-World War II, Autobiography
Content Area Standard:
- CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine theme or central idea and analyze in detail its development; #3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain; #4 Analyze complex characters; #5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole; #9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
- CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
- CCSS for Language 6-12: #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuance in word meanings, such as interpret figures of speech.
This is a powerful autobiography to use as part of a core English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 6th grade and above, with mild profanity. It explores themes like the loneliness of adolescence, the inward versus outward self, and the generosity and greed that happens in wartime.