Anne Frank and the Remem­ber­ing Tree

Sandy Eisen­berg Sas­so; Eri­ka Steiskal, illus.
  • Review
By – June 15, 2015

Told from the per­spec­tive of the chest­nut tree out­side Anne Frank’s home in Amster­dam, this pic­ture book com­ple­ments the Anne Frank exhi­bi­tion at The Children’s Muse­um of Indi­anapo­lis. The tree reports what it sees from its van­tage point and zooms in on the Frank fam­i­ly. But like any book writ­ten with a spe­cif­ic pur­pose in mind, the sto­ry suf­fers and feels forced. The title is a mis­nomer. It leads read­ers to believe the book is about Anne Frank. The book is about the tree and the Frank fam­i­ly. It address­es Mar­got Frank as much as it does Anne. The illus­tra­tions are the real star of the book, bold and bleed­ing across dou­ble spreads, which makes the book a good choice for read­ing aloud to groups of chil­dren. The back­mat­ter includes a list of where the tree’s saplings have been plant­ed across the world, but it does not address the sig­nif­i­cance of this action. 

Still, Sasso’s text is a far bet­ter read than the 2013 Anne Frank’s Chest­nut Tree. The tree” point of view allows a wide per­spec­tive that cap­tures the city and its peo­ple against the back­drop of World War II and Nazi persecu­tion. This title could eas­i­ly be used to enter into a dis­cus­sion of the Holo­caust and its impact on a per­son, a fam­i­ly, a city, and the world at large. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 6 – 9.

Bar­bara Kras­ner is the author of many books across gen­res, includ­ing fic­tion, poet­ry, cre­ative non­fic­tion, and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civil­ian Casu­al­ties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosen­berg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Gol­da Meir’s First Cru­sade was a recip­i­ent of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies from Gratz Col­lege, teach­es in the Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies pro­gram at the Col­lege of New Jer­sey, and serves as direc­tor of the Mer­cer Coun­ty Holo­caust, Geno­cide, and Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. She also holds an MFA in writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults from the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine Arts.

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