The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesenthal’s Search for the Truth, Written by Susan Goldman Rubin and Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, 2010, New York: Holiday House. 9780823421091.
Age Range: 6-10 years.
Author Website: http://susangoldmanrubin.com/
Illustrator Website: http://billfarnsworth.com/
Media Used: Book does say except that the illustrations are painted.
Annotation: After witnessing neo-Nazis claim Anne Frank is all a hoax, holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal goes on a quest to prove them wrong and find the man that arrested the Frank Family. Learn of his life, his experiences, and his quest.
Personal Reaction: Simon Wiesenthal knows that Anne Frank is a real person. He knows that what she went through, hiding in an attic with her family is real, fact. However, others living in Austria and other places in the post World War II world are saying that Anne Frank is a hoax and even going as far as to say that the Holocaust itself is a hoax!
Wiesenthal, a man who was in a concentration camp himself, cannot believe his ears when he hears the accusations about Anne Frank. He makes it his personal mission to find authentic proof of Anne’s existence by finding the Gestapo officer who arrested Anne and her family.
This picture book tells not only the story of Wiesenthal’s five year hunt for proof about Anne, but also illuminates his own experience during World War II and the terrifying journey from almost being killed point blank, going to concentration camps, and having his life saved more than once.
This picture book is a fine example of how despite the façade of a picture book, it is a great teaching tool as well. Rubin has gone to great lengths to help her readers better understand the information that they are consuming. Difficult and sometimes lesser used words are easy to spot in this book because Rubin has made a fact to italicize these words and include them in a glossary in the back. Also, she goes into great detail discussing her various resources and additionally gives readers a short more comprehensive biography on Wiesenthal in the back of the book.
Curricular Connection: This picture book fulfills the California Department of Education English Language Arts Content Standards for the fifth grade in the following ways:
1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
Students use their knowledge of word origins and word relationships, as well as historical and literary context clues, to determine the meaning of specialized vocabulary and to understand the precise meaning of grade-level-appropriate words.
1.1 Read aloud narrative and expository text fluently and accurately and with appropriate pacing, intonation, and expression.
Vocabulary and Concept Development
1.2 Use word origins to determine the meaning of unknown words.
1.3 Understand and explain frequently used synonyms, antonyms, and homographs.
1.4 Know abstract, derived roots and affixes from Greek and Latin and use this knowledge to analyze the meaning of complex words (e.g., controversial).
1.5 Understand and explain the figurative and metaphorical use of words in context.
2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose. The selections in Recommended Literature, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. In addition, by grade eight, students read one million words annually on their own, including a good representation of grade-level-appropriate narrative and expository text (e.g., classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, online information). In grade five, students make progress toward this goal.
Structural Features of Informational Materials
2.1Understand how text features (e.g., format, graphics, sequence, diagrams, charts, maps) make information accessible and usable.
2.2 Analyze text that is organized in sequential or chronological order.
Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
2.3 Discern main ideas and concepts presented in texts, identifying and assessing evidence that supports those ideas.
2.4 Draw inferences, conclusions, or generalizations about text and support them with textual evidence and prior knowledge.
2.5 Distinguish facts, supported inferences, and opinions in text.
I would also recommend this book to be used for a biography project, or if students need to learn more about the concentration camps during World War II.
Use of Advanced Language: Aryan, concentration camp, death block, force-labor camp, forgery, Gestapo, Ghetto, neo-Nazis, nettle, partisans, restitution money, SS (Schutzstaffel), swastikas, Ukrainian. These are all words listed in the glossary and italicized through the book.