Review: Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation written by Anne Frank, adapted by Ari Folman, and illustrations by David Polonsky

Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Novel Adaptation

Anne Frank’s Diary
Anne Frank
Adapted by Ari Folman
Illustrations by David Polonsky
Pantheon Books
Published October 2, 2018

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Anne Frank’s Diary

A timeless story rediscovered by each new generation, The Diary of a Young Girl stands without peer. For both young readers and adults it continues to capture the remarkable spirit of Anne Frank, who for a time survived the worst horror the modern world has seen—and who remained triumphantly and heartbreakingly human throughout her ordeal.

Adapted by Ari Folman, illustrated by David Polonsky, and authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, this is the first graphic edition of The Diary and includes extensive quotation directly from the definitive edition. It remains faithful to the original, while the stunning illustrations interpret and add layers of visual meaning and immediacy to this classic work of Holocaust literature.

Anne Frank's Diary on Goodreads

My Review

I read THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL for the first time this year. I’d read a play based on the diary and seen it performed while I was in school, but I hadn’t read the original text for myself until now.

One of the reasons I did is because of this graphic adaptation. (Note: the term graphic adaptation simply means it’s told in a series of images in panels, much like a comic strip, but the content is nonfiction, so it’s not a graphic novel.)

Anne Frank’s Diary Banned

ANNE FRANK’S DIARY was banned in at least one high school library in a county near me early in 2023. I read about the content that a parent objected to, but didn’t really have a grid for it since I’d never read the graphic adaptation being pulled or the original diary.

The content the parent objected to is on a two-page spread. There are three images showing Anne and her friend Jacque having a sleepover. Anne asks Jacque if they can show one another their breasts, and Jacque says no. Ann laments that she wanted very much to kiss her friend. The next page shows Anne walking through a garden of vaguely sketched nude statues with a caption that she feels ecstasy at the sight of a female body.

The content is brief and pretty vague, and Jacque even rebuffs Anne. These scenes come directly from Frank’s diary entries.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Only Graphic Adaptation Authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation

Having read both these books so closely together, I think the graphic adaptation is faithful to the original text and the spirit of it. There were diary entries that I recognized in the graphic adaptation. Sometimes multiple scenes were combined to show one scene. Some of the illustrations show a scene at a dinner Anne describes. At other times, they present a more metaphorical interpretation of what happened. I found that I really enjoyed that combination and the way it illuminated some of the things Anne describes.

Still the Same Sparky, Brilliant Young Girl

The things that stood out to me so much in this book as with the diary itself were how young Anne is. At times, her temper and her emotions get the better of her, as they do with any of us. At other times, she writes with so much humor and depth that it’s hard to remember she was barely a teenager herself.

The man who adapted the book points out in a note at the back of the book that a famous historian once said, “more people are probably familiar with the Nazi era through the figure of Anne Frank than through any other figure of that period, except perhaps of Adolf Hitler himself.”

I had to let that sink in. And I had to think about the fact that we are now telling some high school students they can’t read this book. Or MAUS, the duology written by Art Spiegelman about his father’s life as a survivor of the Holocaust.

It’s very weird to me that there are places in which you can legally drive a car and get a job but not have access to these books at your school.


I’m so glad I read ANNE FRANK’S DIARY: THE GRAPHIC ADAPTATION and the original, DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank. The story they tell is a pretty simple one. It’s about a girl who keeps a diary, pretending to write letters to a friend as her family faces prejudice, adversity, and ultimately, their own murders.

I really enjoyed the way the illustrations celebrated Anne’s humor and her wit. And I deeply appreciate that they show the vast range of feelings she describes in her diary. I loved the book, and I would like to check out the movie directed by the adapter of the book.

Anne Frank's Diary on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 up.

Anne, her family, and the others hiding in the Secret Annex are Jewish.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Anne reports she once asked a female friend if she could see her breasts and wanted to kiss her. She says she feels “ecstasy” when seeing female bodies. She mentions speaking openly with Peter about the bodies of men and women. Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Anne’s family celebrates Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day together.

Violent Content
Anne hears rumors of citizens being executed. She hears rumors about people taken to concentration camps and killed there. Anne worries about friends from school and others her family knew. She sometimes has a dream of them asking her for help.

Drug Content
Anne takes Valerian drops to combat feelings of anxiety and panic during her time in hiding.

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Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation is a beautifully illustrated adaptation of the original diary telling about Anne’s years in hiding in Nazi-occupied Holland.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation written by Anne Frank, adapted by Ari Folman, and illustrations by David Polonsky

  1. I’ve heard about this but haven’t seen it yet. I think I should find a copy. Thanks for your review.

    • Kasey says:

      Thanks! I thought it was nicely done. I haven’t watched the movie that the illustrator worked on, but I still want to do that, too.