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What age for The Diary of Anne Frank?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Title says it all. What age do you think is appropriate for reading/learning about The Diary of Anne Frank?
post #2 of 31
I don't know if age alone is a big issue for reading the book. However, I think that the book needs some serious context in order to be as powerful as it should be. When I read the book, I was in sixth grade, I think, and we read it out of the blue with no history to surround it. My classmates and I thought it was horrifically dull and lame.

When I was teaching, we devoted several months to a multi-subject unit about WWII and the Holocaust. Our kids (who were in eighth grade) were so aware of what was going on, and especially the consequences Anne's family would face if they were caught, that the book had a lot more meaning.

Eighth grade was a good age, I think, for kids to be able to handle information about the Holocaust that they needed to put the book into context. I might go a bit younger with kids who were not overly sensitive.
post #3 of 31
I agree, 7th or 8th grade.
post #4 of 31
I think Anne's age at the time of writing is ideal. She was 13 I think, so 7th or 8th grade.
post #5 of 31
I think I read it in 7th grade (not in school, on my own). I think it really depends on the reading level of the kid.
post #6 of 31
I read it in the sixth grade, but it was not the first book I read based in the war... I think the first one I read was Lisa by Carol Matas.
post #7 of 31
When I was in school, the advanced reading group read it in 6th grade.

We all had plenty of knowledge of the historical background. Many of our parents remembered WW2 from their childhoods (I'm an older mom, and our town tended to have older parents,) and number of students had family who were holocaust survivors or escapees.
post #8 of 31
I read it in 4th grade, but thats when we learned about WWII so it was pretty relevant.
post #9 of 31
I loved it in middle school. I think that it would have been lost on me earlier. It is a fantastic book to read as an adult, but hard to do without sobbing.
post #10 of 31
I went to a regular public school and we read it, as a class, in 5th or 6th grade. I loved it!
post #11 of 31
I first read it in 2nd grade, but I re-read it in 7th grade. I got more out of it emotionally and intellectually the second time as I had a better background for what was going on at the time. So, while I could read the words in 2nd grade, I needed an adult to help with the context, which I didn't have. I think that's probably the biggest obstacle with reading this book.
post #12 of 31
I think it's generally taught in middle school - 6th, 7th and 8th grades, but I wouldn't be surprised if some precocious readers picked it up much earlier than that. In those cases, I would say it depends on the maturity of the child and whether he or she has some historical context for the events in the book.

I've always been careful to give permission to my children to abandon a book if they find it's beyond their comprehension. They were early readers, so often picked up books that weren't age appropriate. They usually accepted my advice that they may not be ready to read something, but in the cases where they went ahead, they often put it aside after reading a little and satisfying their curiosity.

If the book has been assigned in school and you think your child isn't ready, that's a tougher issue. One to take up with the teacher.
post #13 of 31
Middle school/junior high. I think I read it earlier on my own, but it's one of those books that I think packs the greatest punch if the reader is close to the same age as the writer. Kids much younger can handle the content, so I don't think it's harmful for younger kids to read it, but I think it's one of those books where the social/developmental aspect of the storyline (if a diary can be said to have a storyline) makes it more gripping. In my experience, younger readers understand the entire book, but older readers tend to relate to it on a more personal level.
post #14 of 31
I read it on my own somewhere around 13 or 14. I found it devastating. i was an early, advanced reader and actively avoided books whose content was very emotionally difficult or adult.
post #15 of 31
I read it in grade 8 English class.
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Well, the reason I asked is DD1 came home from school saying that her teacher had read some of it and talked about it with her class (mixed grades 3rd-5th). I was surprised and thought that was a bit young. They're studying "leaders" right now and picking biographies and autbiographies to read. I think she introduced it as an example of an autobiography and a kid making a difference, but I was really surprised. I think of it as more of a middle school/high school book.

Dd's teacher this year is really great, but she hasn't taught kids this young before. She's previously taught middle school aged kids.

Dd didn't seem fazed by it, but I was considering saying something to the teacher. Just not sure. I think it may be over and done with now.
post #17 of 31
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
Well, the reason I asked is DD1 came home from school saying that her teacher had read some of it and talked about it with her class (mixed grades 3rd-5th).
There may be some advanced readers who are fine with it, but generally that does seem a little young to read the book. It sounds like the teacher didn't expect them to read the entire thing though, so it's probably fine. I wonder how much context she provided though?
post #18 of 31
I know this is on the class reading list for this year (DS is in 4th grade at an academically oriented private school) and I am really nervous about his reaction to it. I have very mixed feelings about his learning about the holocaust and related history and would love to keep him "innocent" a bit longer.
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
yeah, they weren't reading it themselves, but I think she read excerpts to them. Dd1 told us about it – that she had to hide because the Nazi's didn't like Jews during the war and that during the war her father got the diary published and that all of her family except her dad died and she did, too. Dd2 (who's 5!) was thinking about being upset about that, but I told her it was a long, long time ago and I think she was okay with it. I'm just not ready to go into the holocaust yet, so I'm hoping they didn't really get into Auschwitz and gassing, etc. I really can't remember how old I was when I learned about that, I know there were TV shows (Hogan's Heroes reruns) and movies (Indiana Jones), but I feel like it was probably when I was older when I really learned about death camps.
post #20 of 31
My 8 yo and I have discussed the holocaust, and Anne Frank, over the years. I wouldn't choose to read The Diary of Anne Frank to an 8 yo, but I don't have a problem with discussing the holocaust and Anne Frank's life at that age--although, of course, I would be concerned about keeping it age appropriate and waiting on the more horrifying details. I don't know how I'd feel about excerpts being read unless I'd read the excerpts.
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