Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anne Frank and Mozart

What do these two have in common? Probably not a whole lot, but they are each the subject of their own book in the National Geographic World History biography series. These were both really attractive and informative books, and I'm sure that the others in the series would not disappoint either. At 64 pages, they are short, but feature information about the historical figure's early childhood and the world around them in the time that they lived. There is a timeline at the bottom of the pages running throughout the book to alert the reader of important events in the character's life as well as other world events. In the case of Mozart, who lived so long ago, this helped me to relate as I read about his life, which seemed so long ago and so far away. These may be the most beautiful books that I have had my hands on. Each one is filled with pictures, and the chapter introduction pages are laid out like a scrapbook page. The bright colors and informative captions move the story along in an easily digestible way. New terms are included in a glossary at the end of the book, but are also defined right within the text in a comfortable way. These books could be enjoyed by eight year olds on up. See other books in the series HERE.

Anne Frank grabbed my attention right away with the subtitle: "The Young Writer who Told the World her Story." I don't think that a student can leave high school without having been assigned The Diary of Anne Frank. What's more, I think it's one of the books that students actually enjoy reading. This series focuses on the childhood of the the subjects, so it was interesting to hear stories of her life before the Annex, along with seeing pictures that her father took of her in her early years. What's more, in this book we are told the unfortunate end to the story, which she herself couldn't tell after she and her family were seized by the German authorities and her diary was left behind. Not only is the subject of this book fascinating, it is an absolutely beautiful book. The preserved pictures that her father took of her and her sister are a treasure. The graphics pull together the pages in a compelling and beautiful way. This book stunned me.

Anyone who is interested in Jewish history or persecution, or is going to be studying Anne Frank would love this book, in addition to any child (or adult!) who is a writer at heart.

Mozart is somewhat of an enigma to me. I couldn't resist looking over this book as well. I especially enjoyed the details of his family life with a father and a sister who were also musicians. This book introduces the concept of Austrian leisure, royalty, the business of entertainment, the early "homeschooling" of Mozart and his sister Nannerl and other elements of daily life in the eighteenth century. Portraits and landscapes of both the Amadeus family and the world around them are included.

A child interested in music or one taking any sort of musical lesson would probably be interested to read about the way it was so much of part of Mozart's life as a child, as well as the culture in general.

These two books from the National Geographic World History Biography series were sent to me for review by the publisher.


MUISTO said...

I love Anne Franks Diary... I read it, when I was just the age, she was when she wrote it. So this really hit me, knowing that her life was interrupted so cruely and my own life was so normal and blessed.

I read it several times in later years, but this did not compare to that very first reading experience.

MUISTO said...
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Heather said...

What I remember from reading Anne Frank in junior high: learning the word ostentatious. The guy living in their small area paraded out in something of Anne's ostentatiously. I think she compared him to a peacock, but I may be making up that part.

Granny said...

We are all about Anne Frank in our homeschool right now. We've read the book, watched the movie, and are getting ready to watch the documentary next. My kids are fascinated!

Susan said...

Biography is just simply my favorite genre. I have to say that I would love to learn more about both of these people.


Kelly said...

I must say-once again!- that I love your book reviews. I regularly find myself hitting Amazon after reading your blog. Thanks!