“What are you reading, Tess?” Rick asked.
“Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank.”
“I’ve heard about it. Never read it. She was about your age when her family spent two years hiding from the Nazis during World War II in a secret little annex to an office building.”
“Right, Rick. The Dutch people helped them hide, with another family, the Van Daans.
“I can’t imagine it.”
“The book makes it real. She writes to her ‘Dear Kitty,’ about her life, her hopes, her problems, her opinions. She isn’t always nice, but she seems honest. I would have liked her.”
“What happened to her?” Rick asked.
“The family was betrayed, sent to concentration camps, and all but the father died there. When he came back to where they had hidden, he found Anne’s diary. He published a famous version of her diary, keeping some things private.”
“Did she have thoughts a lot like your own?”
“Yes. That’s what made it especially interesting for me. The revised new edition we read has a lot about her friends, her interest in boys, and about some friction with her family and the people she was hiding out with.”
“Do you think I would like it?”
“Probably not, although it is a classic. More of a girl-thing.”
Rick was quiet for a minute or two. “Sad story. Terrible the way it turns out. I remember that she wrote, ‘Paper is patient,’ suggesting her annoyances with those who were not patient. Do you have a diary?”
“Yes, but I keep it locked up and hidden. It’s personal.”
“Are you ever going to let me read yours?”
“No way. Keep out!”
“Somehow, guys rarely have diaries. I wonder why not.”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you know what Anne Frank meant by ‘Paper is patient’?”
“Yes. I know that when I write in my own diary, I don’t feel rushed. It listens to me patiently. I can say what I mean. It doesn’t judge me. I can write frankly.”
“Anne Frankly?” Rick couldn’t resist the pun.
“Right.” Tess rolled her eyes.
One of our series of fifty short, instructional stories for "middle-grade readers."