Edu-Manga: Anne Frank

“For two years, Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex. Though her young life was threatened on a daily basis, Anne channeled all of her fears and dreams into the pages of a private diary. Anne kept her hope for peace alive in the midst of the tragedy of war. Her indomitable spirit lives on to this day in the words of her very special diary.”

“Astro Boy can’t wait for you to meet this incredible young girl! Join him as he shares the day-to-day life of Anne Frank, her family, and the time they spent in the secret annex. Anne’s strength of spirit and joy in the face of impossible odds come together to create one of the most inspiring stories of our time.” (Text from the back cover)

Edu-manga: Anne Frank (originally ??? ? ??? ??? ???????? / Atomu poketto jinbutsu-kan: Anne Furanku / lit. “Atom pocket character museum: Anne Frank“) was first published in Japan by Kodansha in 2001 as part of their series of “Learning Comics” (or Edu-Manga). It was translated in English by Digital Manga Publishing in 2006. It’s the fifth volume in the series, along with Mother Theresa, Ludwig van Beethoven, Albert Einstein and Helen Adams Keller (all by different authors and illustrators).

This educational manga tells us about the life of Anne Frank, how she came to write her famous diary and what happened to her from her arrest in Amsterdam to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in northern Germany, where she died. It also explains the situation of the jews in Europe during World War II and how her diary came to be published. The story is told very simply (with explanation notes in-between chapters and at the end) and is obviously meant for children.

The story is introduced by Atomu (Astro-Boy), Osamu Tezuka’s famous character. Incidentally, the manga is drawn in a very caricatural style quite similar to Tezuka’s own style, so the artist must be (or have been) a member of his studio (or this educational manga series is produced by Tezuka Production?).

The simplicity of the story and art makes this title not very entertaining for an adult to read. However, what makes it interesting is the fact that it is one of the rare examples of educational manga translated in English (and such manga represent an important trend in Japan — I have already talked about it in a previous post). It’s worth giving it a look if you are curious about it.

Edu-Manga: Anne Frank. Written by Etsuo Suzuki, illustrated by Yoko Miyawaki (translated by Sachiko Sato). Gardena, CA: Digital Manga (Educational Series), May 2006, 168 p. ISBN 978-1-56970-974-2. Rated for All ages. Native reading format (from right to left). $9.95 US.

© Yoko Miyawaki • Etsuo Suzuki • Tezuka Production 2001. All rights reserved. English translation & other material © 2005-2006 Digital Manga Inc.

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