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“I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me. I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear; my courage is reborn.”

~ Anne Frank

Much has been written about Anne Frank, the courageous girl who revealed her life in hiding from the Nazis via her beloved diary, Kitty. Anne’s ability to relate to young people has taught generations about the Holocaust, but more importantly, it has demonstrated the power of empathy and kindness, especially through the actions of Miep Gies.

Miep Gies was on Otto Frank’s staff. She agreed to help hide the Frank family and friends in a small space attached to Frank’s office. Barbara Lowell’s new book, BEHIND THE BOOKCASE, tells Anne’s tale for the young from Miep’s unique perspective.

Why did Miep agree to do such a dangerous thing? Well, this book taught me that Miep had escaped World War I as a young child. Her parents sent her away from Austria, were there was little food or resources, and she was adopted by a loving Dutch family. This life-saving experience serves as the foundation for BEHIND THE BOOKCASE.

Barbara, how did you discover this unique angle?

As I looked at photographs of Miep Gies in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, I felt a connection to her. I wanted to know more about her and why she risked her life in an attempt to save the lives of Anne Frank, her family and friends. After I read Miep’s autobiography, Remembering Anne Frank: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family, I knew I wanted to tell her story for children. I thought that the horror of the Holocaust and Anne’s death could be shared in a more accessible way for young children if it was told through Miep’s point of view.

What do you want children to take away from this retelling?

I want kids to know that good people tried to save the lives of many Jewish people during the Holocaust. Just as Anne Frank is the face of victims of the Holocaust for many children, Miep Gies can be the face of those who tried to help them. My hope is that what happened in the Holocaust will never be forgotten and writing the book is my contribution.

BEHIND THE BOOKCASE is an introduction to the Holocaust for elementary age children. As an introduction, I hope it spurs their interest as they grow to read more complex books on Anne Frank, the Holocaust and World War II. I hope too that they will read Anne’s diary and remember Miep Gies, the woman who saved the diary first for Anne…and then for the world.

Barbara, thank you for writing this book. I think the lessons of empathy and kindness are especially salient for today.

Blog readers, would you like a copy of BEHIND THE BOOKCASE? It’s available now from Kar-Ben Publishing, but I am also giving away a copy.

Leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be chosen at the end of the month.

Good luck!

 


Barbara Lowell is the author of the picture books: BEHIND THE BOOKCASE: Miep Gies, Anne Frank and the Hiding Place; MY MASTODON; SPARKY & SPIKE: Charles Schulz and the Wildest, Smartest Dog Ever; and more books for children. She is an active member of SCBWI and SCBWI Oklahoma and loves to travel. She lives in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with her husband and two terrific cats. You can visit her at barbaralowell.com.

 

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COMING SOON:

BLOOP!
illus by Mike Boldt
HarperCollins
July 2021

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
November 2021

"PRIVATE I" SERIES #3
illus by Ross MacDonald
Little, Brown
2022

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