Read the Diary as a Community!

Cover of the Diary, modern edition

We encourage people of all ages to read the book that is at the heart of the tree planting ceremony: Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. Better yet—read it in community!

Pick up a copy of Anne Frank’s celebrated diary and discuss it with classmates, neighbors, family, and colleagues. If you need a copy of the Diary, Prairie Lights Bookstore (15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City) has many available for purchase. 

Anne Frank is wittier and more eloquent than you might remember from that excerpt you read in 8th grade English. And she’s astoundingly relevant. For instance, we can all empathize with Anne’s sense of being bored and stuck in one small place as we move out of two years of pandemic: “…if I live here much longer, I’ll turn into a dried-up old beanstalk. And all I really want is to be an honest-to-goodness teenager!”

And as many of us try to navigate a politically charged world with family, this statement certainly rings true: “I’ve discovered a trick, and the effect is overwhelming, just like pricking someone with a pin and watching them jump. Here’s how it works: I start talking about politics. All it takes is a single question, a word or a sentence, and before you know it, the entire family is involved!” 

Public Discussions

To provide context to community members’ reading, we offered three in-person discussions at the Iowa City Public Library (123 S. Linn St., Iowa City). The first two sessions were live-streamed and recorded via ICPL’s Facebook page. All of the discussions were free and open to the general public.

Tuesday, March 8 
7:00–8:00 p.m. CST

ICPL Meeting Room A

“The Annex, Amsterdam, and Understanding the Space of the Diary
—with Heike Kumpf, AIA


Wednesday, March 30
7:00–8:00 p.m. CST

ICPL Meeting Room A

“Dear Kitty: The Act of Keeping a Diary”
—with Dr. Kirsten Kumpf Baele, teacher Ali Borger-German, and author Jennifer New


Monday, April 11
7:00–8:00 p.m.
ICPL Meeting Room A

“Judaism in the Diary of Anne Frank: A Discussion”
—with Josh Hare of Iowa Hillel

[This discussion was not recorded.]

Additional Resources

For reading groups and educators who would like other questions and themes to anchor their study of the Diary, we suggest the following: