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Yesterday I finished Searching for Anne Frank: Letters from Amsterdam to Iowa by Susan Goldman Rubin. I think everyone should read this book…especially everyone who has read Anne Frank’s diary … in fact, I am going to re-read the diary next. The book was inspired by letters exchanged by Anne and her sister Margot with Betty and Juanita Wagner from a small town in Iowa. For years many people didn’t even know this correspondence existed. It was just a couple of letters right before the war started … I wondered how this would translate into a book and it’s done beautifully. There are lots of photos…including one of the diary itself, and also shots of the letters and other sources. The chapters alternate between Amsterdam and Iowa and follow the lives of the girls and their families. I think this book is especially important for readers of the diary to get the perspective of WWII in America. Times were hard and people were scared but it was nothing compared to what was going on in Europe. The author also mentions the anti-Semitism in America as well as the set up of Japanese interment camps… something that gets convoluted in my mind…which war was that again??? This book ties it all together while telling the story of Anne Frank and her family. It also doesn’t end with her death but keeps telling the story of how her father got the diary published, about the play and film, and also what happened to Betty and Juanita… how the letters became public and what happened to them. There are great resources in the back … you just couldn’t ask for a more complete book. It’s on our middle school’s summer reading list and I am so glad…I am going to recommend it to everyone I can!

For Allison…and everyone else who liked Make Lemonade…try Sahara Special … I just read that for my book review group and really liked it and it reminded me of Make Lemonade…. a young, city-dwelling girl struggling in school, trying to make her life better. Her mom reminds me a little of the Make Lemonade mom and they both live in similar situations. Luckily for Sahara she encounters a unique and inspiring teacher.

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