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on January 28, 2002
In her now famous Diary, Anne Frank said "I want to go on living even after my death". As of 1998, The Diary of Anne Frank had reached sales of 25 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages. (source: TIME, October 5, 1998). It has been required classroom reading for half a century now! In a way, her wish has come to pass.
This subsequent publication "Tales From The Secret Annex" combines short stories, reminiscences/vignettes, and even an unfinished novel to show us yet another dimension to this remarkable person. Reading these stories and little essays confirmed my personal opinion that Anne Frank was a childhood genius with unlimited potential to achieve anything she would have set her mind to. It's hard to imagine this thirteen year old girl writing with such depth and perception, while living in seclusion, terror and fear for her life. She was writing from her heart, not with an expectation of being published. And yet these stories shine with a polished brilliance, and a certain unforgettable quality. I read this book for the first time 8 years ago, and have returned to it now, remembering the stories as though I had read them just last week. My favorite is entitled "Kathy". In three short pages, Anne captures every emotion experienced by a kid who is misunderstood by her mother, assaulted by schoolyard bullies who mock and rob her and cause her to lose the gift she was bringing home to her mother.
Here is how she ends her essay entitled "Give":
"If only our country and then Europe and finally the whole world would realize that people were really kindly disposed toward one another, that they are all equal and everything else is transitory!
Open your eyes... give of yourself, give as much as you can! And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness! No one has ever become poor from giving! If you do this, then in a few generations no one will need to pity the beggar children anymore, because they will not exist!
There is plenty of room for everyone in the world, enough money, riches, and beauty for all to share! God has made enough for everyone. Let us all begin by sharing it fairly." (written March 26, 1944).
Anne was sent to Bergen-Belsen, where some time during March 1945, she, her sister Margot and hundreds of other prisoners were stricken with typhus. Their captors, preoccupied with the advancing Allies, left them to die.
World... read her book!
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on March 5, 2001
Also published under the title "Tales from the House Behind," this is a collection of juvenile/young adult stories that Anne Frank worked on during her years in hiding in the annex with her family and fellow fugitives. It proves that this young girl had an incredible gift for writing, and that had she lived she probably would have been received the Noble Prize for Literature. Her stories were often candid indictments of her own family life, such as Kitty, which tells the story of a young girl who day-dreams and a mother who wants her child to listen and obey rather than dream. Anne's essays show an in-depth understanding of human nature, surprising for one so young. This is a poignant book filled with fables, short stories, essays and even part of an unfinished novel. It's worth reading after you have read "The Diary of Anne Frank" simply because the diary will give you more insight to this amazing girl's life. However "Tales from the Secret Annex" stands on its own too, and like the diary should be on every school child's list of books to read.
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on April 4, 1999
These stories and essays are well-crafted, yet easy to read. There are lessons to be learned from each piece, and these lessons can be identified easily. But the themes and ideas remain in your head and leave you thinking long after you set the book down - thinking about Anne Frank's life in the Nazi-occupied Europe as well as her ideals. Anyone will discover some aspect of their persona mirrored in Frank's characters, whether it may be through Paula or Kathy or Eve or anyone else.
You should approach the book with an open mind and respect for the writing. If you see that Frank was an intelligent young human being, and not a little kid whose writing you can deal with condescendingly, read this book. Otherwise, skip it. This is honest, wise, well-crafted work, and it should be treated as such.
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VINE VOICEon May 15, 2000
Having read Anne Frank's famous Diary, I chose to read this volume as well, almost a companion volume to the first. Her diary mentions her writing efforts and it is fun to read them here in their entirety. The quality of the stories increases immensely as we go from one to the next, proving the old axiom that the only way to improve your writing is to practice. But what is really amazing is the insights this young girl was able to bring to her stories. Several seem to be quite plain on the surface yet have an underlying message or theme. Most of them are understandably coming-of-age stories. In addition, we get a little more insight into her life in the attic and those people that surrounded her during that time.
If you enjoyed reading Anne Frank's Diary, then you will also enjoy this volume of stories.
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VINE VOICEon April 22, 2000
Had this been a collection of stories and essays by anybody else, I would have thought it was nothing special. But having read the Diary of Anne Frank first, the stories and essays make so much more sense. You can just see her whiling away the dull moments of the life in the secret annex, honing her writing skills. It is easy to see her skills as a writer increase from story to story. But even more interesting is to read the messages contained within her works. The writing skills she displays are obviously that of a teenager, although much better than most people her age. But the real value of these pieces are the insights which she brings to them; her life experiences and her approach to life's big questions. The last essay in the collection is entitled, "Why" and seems to sum up her short life. Read this book, but only after you read the Diary so the essays will be meaningful.
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on November 5, 1999
Throughout this book Anne writes of things she would have liked to do while in hiding, such as feeling the sunlight on her skin, hearing the birds sing, and above all, being free. Anne's book of stories is both touching and entertaining as she goes from topic to topic of religion, faith, happiness, sandness, and...hope.
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on August 19, 2005
This wonderful little book is a collection of Anne Frank's lesser known writings , found in a seperate volume.

It shows what a phenomenal young writer she was , and hints what a great author she may have been had she been allowed to live.

The book consists of fables and short stories as well as personal reminiscenses and essays.

They range from 'Kitty' - Anne's reflections on the blonde little girl next door , to beautiful fairy tales (which remind me a bit of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales) like 'The Wise Old Dwarf' and 'The Fairy'-all have a wonderful lesson enclosed within.

'Paula's Plane Trip' and 'Cady's Life' focus on the adventures of young girls during wartime , the latter touching on the holocaust which later swallowed up Anne's young life.

A constant theme in the book is Anne's conviction that relaxing and connecting with nature , can ease one's mind from any difficulties.

In 'Personal Remininscinces and Essays' Anne Frank lets us know a little bit more about life in the little house where she and other Jews hid for some years from Nazi terror.

In a particularly poignant passage , she remarks that after the war , she would get together photos of the people in the house, which is why she spent so little time on physical description of the house's inhabitants. Anne was confident she would survive the war , and recontinue her life.

A remarkable testament to the wonderful life of a child whose life was cut so short.
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on June 23, 2012
I had to read the Diary of Anne Frank for my school exams; a few years later I read it again together with this book. This time I felt as though I got to know this tragic teenager, and wished that she could have survived the holocaust.
Nowadays I'm convinced that I did not really know her after all. For example, Anne's sense of humour does not emerge from the diary or her tales, such as her nickname of "Mrs Quack-Quack". Moreover, after the family's betrayal Anne's relationship with her mother blossomed, and her fundamental belief in the goodness of mankind possibly changed in the dreadful concentration camps. Nor do these tales come out from her diary, which is why I chose to re-read them.
Some survivors who knew her have said that if Anne had survived the war, she would probably have gone into politics to make a positive difference. Contemporaries also reveal that some people in hiding at Prisengracht were not always accurately depicted. They were seen from the perspective of a playful, active and pubescent girl cooped up in extraordinary circumstances. perhaps this was part of her imagination which transferred to these Tales.
Because Anne was not an English speaking person, diction and phraseology of translations are important. Furthermore she was a mid 20th century person and did not use 21st century phrases or idioms. So any updated language needs careful attention, otherwise a `different Anne' could be created.
Tragedy tugs the heartstrings as we want to avoid it in our own quest for completion and happiness. But the diary and the Tales are much more than that. There are many issues lying just below the text's surface which can be uncovered with proper scholastic study.
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on April 8, 2014
Anne Frank is one of my favorite people. Her diary was my favorite to teach in the English class. When she had a fault, she didn't blame her nature for the shortcoming but devoted herself to improve. The definitive copy of Anne Frank, the one she wrote before her father Otto got ahold of it is the much better choice.
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on November 16, 1999
I must differ with the opinion of my fellow Lexingtonian. This book is an excellent compilation of Ms. Frank's early prose- a worthy start for a brilliant mind. Her writings are at once both ecstatic and depressing, and touch one's emotions in such a way so as to affect them long after. An essential companion to her famous diary.
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