What to Read After... Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Published on: 16 November 2023

If you know children who have read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and want to find out more, take a look at our recommendations and suggestions.

The front cover of The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is an important and heart-rending read that is both a coming-of-age-story and a tragedy, given what happened to Anne and her family.

If a child you know wants to discover more about Jewish people hiding during World War II, Hidden by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis, translated by Laura Watkinson, is worth reading, especially as these are stories of survivors.

Stories set in World War II

There are many brilliant, moving novels that shed light on different aspects of the war, all meticulously researched and based on real people's stories.

There are those where the characters are doing something directly against the Nazis, like Code Name Kingfisher by Liz Kessler, or Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – both centred on very different undercover operations.

Similarly, Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan, I, Spy: a Bletchley Park Mystery by Rhian Tracey and Rosie Raja: Mission to Cairo by Sufiya Ahmed have the characters doing their bit to resist.

An illustration from the front cover of Code Name Kingfisher - two children running over a bridge as warplanes fly in the sky

Pic: David Dean

Then there are novels centring on the repercussions of war on civilians, like the classic evacuee story Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian or Until the Road Ends by Phil Earle, which is written from the point of view of three animals during the Blitz.

In The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery, 12-year-old Col travels to save his sister in a war-torn Britain, while in complete contrast, in Ausländer by Paul Dowswell, a Polish boy is taken to Berlin and made to join the Hitler Youth.

There have been many fascinating World War II stories told, in various different settings. For more inspiration, check out these booklists:

World War II booklists

Find more recommendations of books set during or about World War II.

Books about World War II

From classic favourites to more recent titles, these books for children take a variety of different approaches to representing the events of World War II.

Books about World War II for teens

The Second World War has inspired many stories, and told the stories of many people over the years. These books for teenagers take a variety of different approaches to representing the events of World War II.

Books about WWII for children

Holocaust Memorial Day for 8-12

We look at some of the best children's books inspired by the events of the Holocaust.

More real-life stories

If it's the non-fiction aspect of Anne's diary that children are interested in, try Fritz and Kurt by Jeremy Dronfield or The Boy Who Didn't Want to Die by Peter Lantos. Both are true stories of boys directly affected by the Holocaust.

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan by Sufiya Ahmed sheds light on the thrilling, dangerous life of a female spy working undercover in Nazi territory, while Tales of World War II by Dr Hattie Hearn, illustrated by Margarida Esteves, showcases many amazing true stories from across the globe.

Set more recently, but with a similarly claustrophobic feel to Anne's diary, When Stars are Scattered is an immensely powerful graphic novel about life in a Kenyan refugee camp. Heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure, this is a true story that shows how hope is crucial in tough situations.

Other war stories

An illustration from the front cover of Boy Everywhere - a child on a bus looking out of the window sadly at a rainy street while wearing headphones

Pic: Daby Zainab Faidhi

Boy, Everywhere by A M Dassu recounts the tale of Sami, who has to flee his home town of Damascus when the war in Syria becomes too close for comfort. Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle is the story of Tacky's War in Jamaica – an uprising by slaves against their 'masters' in 1760.

Another moving read is the true-life diary You Don't Know What War Is by Yeva Skalietska, translated by Cindy Joseph-Pearson. It was written when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. Like Anne, Yeva is a young girl when war affects her life, and she and her family must make plans to try to survive. Thank goodness, Yeva's diary has a positive ending for her.

Share your thoughts

Those are some of our ideas – but what about you? Whose life has inspired you? Let us know by getting in touch on social media @BookTrust using the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter.

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