Anne Frank’s diary provides a first-person account of the struggles an adolescent girl faces as her family hides from the Nazis within the terrifying setting of an overcrowded annex.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
8th Grade Informational Text 1230L
Courage in Denmark: Resistance to the Nazis in WWII
Passage Summary: Danish resistance during the Holocaust is explored in the context of global efforts to thwart the Nazis during World War II.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text before students begin reading the book, in order to provide them with historical and cultural context for the time period that Frank’s account is set in. Ask students to contrast the individuals who chose to help the Jews and other Nazi victims, with those who chose not to take any stance towards the genocide. Ask students to consider the efforts of the Danes in their active resistance to the Nazis and their support of the Jews. What do you think the Danes motivations were? As students read Anne Frank’s diary, ask them to consider those who helped the Franks and others, as well as what they stood to lose and gain from doing so.
7th Grade Poem
Passage Summary: In Julio Noboa’s poem “Identity,” a speaker explains why they would choose to be a weed over a flower.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this poem to students after they have read up to the diary entry dated Oct 9, 1942, in order to explore “captivity” as a literary motif and the characterization of Anne. Both the speaker in Noboa’s poem and Anne struggle with the idea of confinement. Ask students to consider Anne’s struggle with confinement as well her struggle with the knowledge that the Germans hate Jews, given that she is both Jewish and German and used to idolize German characteristics. What similarities do the speaker of the poem and Anne share? What would they be giving up if they could have what they wanted?
8th Grade Poem
Passage Summary: Linda Pastan’s “Egg” requires students to examine how a simple egg can symbolize more complex ideas in our world.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this poem after students have read the diary entries through November 11, 1943, in order to draw their focus to the figurative language employed in the diary. Through a cross-genre analysis, have students draw a comparison between the annex and the eggshell, and their connections to Anne’s desire to fly away and the baby birds in Pastan’s poem. Ask students to analyze the metaphors and symbolism in the poem. How is the eggshell similar to the annex? How is Anne’s fountain pen, like the first crack of lightning in the poem, an example of foreshadowing?
6th Grade Fantasy 980L
“The Worst Birthday” from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Passage Summary: After a year spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, Harry Potter returns to his non-magical family for the summer, where he must endure his family treating him badly because they fear his powers.
When and How to Pair: Have students read this passage after reading through the January 28, 1944 entry, to further explore the ideas of captivity and isolation. Both Harry and Anne, at this point, are dreaming of escape and are tired of the people they are forced to live with. Harry’s magic and Anne’s Judaism are markers they wish people could look past. Harry misses the opportunity to celebrate his birthday, as Anne does the winter Jewish holidays. Ask students to discuss Harry and Anne’s desires for freedom. What does each individual experience that keeps them from their ideal status? What are Anne and Harry missing out on?
7th Grade Informational Text 1220L
Teenage Inventor Alexis Lewis Thinks That Kids Have the Solutions to the World’s Problems
Passage Summary: In a 2015 interview with Smithsonian Magazine, teen Alexis Lewis discusses her success as an inventor and why more kids should be inventors.
When and How to Pair: Before reading Anne’s entries for March - April 11, 1944, have students read this text to preface reading about Anne’s interest in publishing her diary. The text indicates that inventors are those who wish to change the world and solve problems. Ask students: What characteristics do young inventors have? What is the relationship between the young inventors and the troubles of the world? How is an author like an inventor? As students read, have them consider Anne’s role as an “inventor” of change.
8th Grade Informational Text 1320L
Who Was Anne Frank?
Passage Summary: This informational text explores the events of World War II as experienced by Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl whose life was permanently changed by the war.
When and How to Pair: Have students read this text once they’ve completed the book. This can provide an opportunity for reflection on the impact of the diary and the symbolism of Anne’s death for the millions of other lives cut short. Have students evaluate the personal and wider historical impact of reading the diary, as well as the statement “Anne Frank has become a symbol for the lost promise of the children who died in the Holocaust.” Why is this text particularly impactful for young school students? How do students connect with Anne and her story?
7th Grade News 1100L
Seven Decades On, Anne Frank’s Words Still Comfort
Passage Summary: While Anne Frank has been gone over 70 years, her optimistic words still console many today.
When and How to Pair: Introduce this text after students have completed the book, to discuss the life of Anne Frank and the legacy she has left on the world. Ask students to reflect on “Diary of a Young Girl” after they have read Simon’s article. How has Anne’s account of her life become a symbol of hope despite how she died? Why do you believe Panahi and Afghan chose to read that particular passage of Anne’s diary? What aspects of the diary are you most inspired by?