Students in Amy Reece’s fourth/fifth grade class at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School participated in this year’s Letters About Literature, a national program to encourage students to reflect on literature that they love. Students were asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally.
Annie Elizabeth Adams won an honors award in level one for her letter to Anne Frank and will be invited to a State House awards ceremony. In her letter, Annie spoke to the Holocaust victim directly about her family visit to the Frank house and how moved she was by the diaries.
Francesca Robinson received recognition at the honorable mention level. Francesca thanked author, Barbara Park, for writing Mick Hart Was Here. The winning letter by Annie Adams follows.
Dear Anne Frank:
Do you know that Kitty was turned into a book? Did you know that it is a best-seller (more than 25 million copies sold)!? After you were betrayed, we still don’t know by whom, and taken away by an “SS man,” Miep Gies returned to the Secret Annex and saved Kitty. After your dad, the only survivor from the Annex, was liberated from Auschwitz in January, 1945, Miep gave him your diary and he turned it into a book.
Your entries have been translated into over 50 different languages. Your story is phenomenal. Your book really stands out in my mind, because you were only a few years older than I am now when you received Kitty, the diary that became the basis for your book. Your writing style and words are so personal, I felt I knew you, and you were sharing your most private secrets with me.
Your story came fully to life for me, 67 years later and 3,499 miles away, when I found a living link between us: one of my family’s friends. When I told an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor and close family friend that I had finished your book, had visited the Secret Annex, and had thought that I couldn’t think of any other way to to “know” you better, I was wrong. She then showed me a picture of you and her, together, in a school picture.
She had been your classmate.
Your story, pieced together with history lessons, our family’s trip to the Secret Annex, and the knowledge and experiences of family friends, gave me a much more personal and detailed understanding of this horrible time in history. We went to the annex, lingered in the room that you shared with Fritz Pfeffer and saw the old, hinged bookcase that served as your hidden door. Then we saw the attic where you spent hours of your painfully short life.
My family and I were reminded of how little you, your family, the van Pels and Mr. Pfeffer had, to be fighting over rotten potatoes, and how lucky we are to have so much. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to be cooped up with the same people every single day for years, hoping for the war to end. I get claustrophobic on weekends when it’s raining and we can’t go outside, and we have a comfortable house, with only five family members. I realize I have nothing to complain about, because you had all that stress, magnified by being separated from your family, sent to Auschwitz, transferred to Bergen-Belsen, and dying of typhus less than a month before liberation.
Your book and story have given me a personal, detailed, much bigger “big picture.” Now I should thank you for writing your diary. And your father, Otto Frank, for believing in you and Kitty, and everyone else who helped your dreams of Kitty becoming a book, and your becoming a famous writer, a reality.
Annie Elizabeth Adams