The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. (June 20, 1942)

I recently read The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, for the first time. Wow. No wonder Anne and her diary are so famous. What a wonderful read. I definitely want to share it with my children, especially my daughters, when they are about 14 years old.

I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I’m free, and yet I can’t let it show. Just imagine what would happen if all eight of us were to feel sorry for ourselves or walk around with the discontent clearly visible on our faces. Where would that get us? (December 24, 1943)

I’d like to read it bit by bit, sometimes together with my daughter, sometimes separately, and discuss what Anne was going through. There are so many topics that she comes across, and though it would be too much to discuss them all, it would be a chance to bring up so many things I would want my daughter to talk to me about, if she needed or wanted to.

We have many reasons to hope for great happiness, but . . . we have to earn it. And that’s something you can’t achieve by taking the easy way out. Earning happiness means doing good and working, not speculating and being lazy. Laziness may look inviting, but only work gives you true satisfaction. (July 6, 1944)

How inspiring to see a young girl, who felt so insignificant, follow the spark within her to do all she could to bring light to the world and be the best person she could. And to see that even though she lived in hiding and died young, her thoughts have influenced so many people the world over. Feeling insignificant in no way indicates insignificance.

Boys will be boys. And even that wouldn’t matter if only we could prevent girls from being girls.

Just as a warning, there are sometimes explicit reflections about sexuality, morality, and war, so I wouldn’t want kids reading the diary at too young an age or disrespectfully. I would think twice before having boys read it (not that they shouldn’t, just it should be thought about) as there is a lot about the female puberty experience. The passages I noted that you may want to review as you consider this are written on the dates March 18, 23, and 24 of 1944.

How true Daddy’s words were when he said: all children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.

Here are some of the possible discussion topics that I noted down.

World War II, world history, and war in general
Hard work vs. doing what is easy
Human behavior
Understanding yourself and others
Gender equality
Handling suffering

And more. The website is a great resource for learning more about Anne, her circumstances and times (try the virtual tour of the annex, very cool and informative) as is the Anne Frank Guide, which has lots of pictures of their hideout as well. But I strongly encourage you to read her diary!

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About Sunny

My name is Sunny, and my husband and I have five "children" ages 19 to 4. I love learning. I have a M.F.A. in Humanities and dream about going back to school some day. I run around doing "mom" stuff, try to put a nutritious dinner on the table for whomever shows up, and I thrive on creative projects when possible. Mostly I strive to just keep up with the mountains and mole hills of day to day life.
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