Best Books for ages 10-14 #4: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)

This book stands out from the rest of this list as it is not fiction, but in fact an autobiography. Anne Frank was a teenage girl living in a hidden attic during the Second World War. Along with her family, Anne Frank was Jewish and went into hiding from the Nazis in 1942. She was thirteen at the time.

This book would be powerful as a work of fiction, but when you remember that the words you are reading were written by a child who had no idea how the story would end, it becomes a difficult and almost voyeuristic act. By turns passionate, funny and even mundane, the diary is everything you could hope it would be. A vital and candid book for understanding the shared nature of teenage experience, it is also a hugely important book when looking at 20th-century history and its impact on the ordinary people living through the period.

The diary ends when Anne is fifteen, which makes the age bracket of 10-14 the ideal time to read the book for the first time. Her experiences of budding sexuality do mean that some parents may wish to save the book for older teens, however.

By the same author: Tales from the Secret Annex

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