Justification for Teaching

The Diary of a Young Girl is one of the most important personal documents of Holocaust literature. It's an essential piece of history that gives readers a glimpse into the hardships faced by people the Nazis forced into hiding.

Anne Frank's diary is a clear warning about the dangers of extremism and racism, and it can help students understand how prejudice and hate can lead to violent oppression and unthinkable brutality. It should resonate with students as a clarion call to resist hate in all its forms and protect the less powerful.

Like Elie Wiesel's NightThe Diary of a Young Girl is a personal record of the events of World War II. Because it gives students insight into the hardships faced by real people who lived during the War, it's a great text for building empathy and can add a human element to historical study. The Diary of a Young Girl is highly recommended for a cross-curricular unit with your school's History/Social Studies department.

Key Literary Elements & Techniques

  • Genre: Epistolary Literature
  • Symbolism
  • Allusion

Themes and Motifs

  • Secrecy — Just as Anne's family is in hiding, Anne herself uses her diary to record her most secret thoughts — she finds that she is hiding a "second Anne" from everyone who knows her
  • Identity — Anne uses her diary to explore who she is and who she is becoming
  • War — Anne's diary constantly reminds the reader of the hardships and fears that result from living in wartime — food rationing, fear of bombardment, fear that she and her family will be captured

Key Facts

  • Recommended Grade Band: 9 – 12
  • Publication Date: 1952
  • Length: 304 pages
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L

Content Warning

Your Students will love:

  • Anne's search for identity during the most trying time of her life
  • Anne's optimism in the face of oppression

Students may have problems with:

  • If they're reading the Definitive Edition, some students may have problems with Anne's thoughts on sex and sexuality

Available from Prestwick House

See our list of teaching resources for The Diary of a Young Girl, including Teaching Units.

Other Prestwick House Teacher's Guides to Literature

See all our Teacher's Guide to Literature blog posts here.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl