INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — An illustrated adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” has been removed from the Vero Beach High School library after a parent group complained the book minimalizes the Holocaust and shows the young girl’s thoughts about other female bodies.
“The Diary of Anne Frank,” in its original version, remains on the shelves of middle school libraries and the Freshman Learning Center. However, “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” — one of four books challenged last month by Jennifer Pippen, chair of the Indian River County chapter of Moms for Liberty, was removed.
Chapters for Moms for Liberty, a grassroots parent-advocacy group that began in Indian River and Brevard counties and has since spread to 275 chapters in 44 states, have challenged books throughout the state and country.
The illustrated book, adapted by Ari Folman — the son of Holocaust survivors — and illustrated by David Polonsky was only available in the Vero Beach High School library. It contains illustrations of Frank walking among female nude statues that were “sexually explicit,” Pippin said. Content in the book was “not a true adaptation of the Holocaust,” she said.
Anne Frank was a 13-year-old Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands and the Holocaust. “The Diary of a Young Girl,” often referred to as “The Diary of Anne Frank”, is a 1947 publication of the diary she kept during the two years in hiding. The diary ends in 1944, when Frank’s family was discovered by the Nazis and taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Frank died in 1945 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
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There are hundreds of other books about Anne Frank to select for school libraries that do not discuss the specific subjects, Pippin said.
“We will never challenge the accurate diary of Anne Frank’s books,” she said in a text message. “True history needs to be taught.”
The original Diary of Anne Frank, however, contains a Jan. 6, 1944, entry in which Frank, then 14, relates a story about asking a friend if she wanted to show each other their bodies, Frank’s desire to kiss her and her feelings when she saw photos of the statues in her art history book.
Three books from the Assassination Classroom series, about a junior high classroom whose homeroom teacher is really an alien with superpowers, were removed last month from the Gifford Middle School library, according to the school district. The books contain illustrations of students with guns in a classroom, Pippin said. With recent school shootings in mind, Pippin said, the books were inappropriate.
“We don’t want students to think it’s OK to kill their teachers,” Pippin said.
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In February, the district adopted new procedures for parents and other county residents to challenge books in school libraries. A complaint first goes to the school’s principal or the principal’s designee. Appeals then go to a committee of parents, teachers and district officials that reviews the book and makes a recommendation to the School Board, which has the final say.
The committee met Tuesday for the first time to receive training on procedures and the state statutes that must be followed when considering challenged materials. Training includes deion of what could be considered pornographic and unacceptable for students. School media centers are required to be free of pornographic materials, and books in the media centers must be suitable for student needs and age- and grade-appropriate.
Pippin said she has a list of about 250 additional books Moms for Liberty plans to challenge once the committee’s training is complete.