As reported by The Guardian, Hoffman she said that she discovered Frank’s book, The Diary of a Young Girl, when she was 12 years old, and that it affected her “more than any other” book. “It changed the way I looked at the world. It changed the person I was and the person I would become.”
Hoffman shared that in recent years she’s been thinking about reading that transformational book in her youth, and began to wonder more about Frank’s early life. “I wondered what Anne’s life had been like before the diary, and what had caused her to become the writer whose voice spoke for a generation of those whose lives were ruined or ended by the Nazi occupation, a voice that will never allow us to forget what had happened.”
Hoffman’s new book, When We Flew Away, will focus on the years leading up to Frank’s confinement.
The novel will focus on Anne Frank’s story from when Nazis first invaded the Netherlands in May 1940, to when her family fled Amsterdam in July 1942, in order to go into hiding in the annexe of her father’s office building. It was at this point, July 1942, that Frank starting to keep her diary,
As such, Hoffman is offering a fiction imagining of this time period in her upcoming book, although it should be noted that Frank Family archival materials were provided by the Anne Frank House and used by Hoffman for this new project
Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House, shared in a statement, “We can highly recommend Alice Hoffman’s novel of Anne Frank’s life, set in the dramatic and terrible circumstances of those first war years. We hope it will persuade young readers that contributing to a better world is both necessary and possible.”
When We Flew Away, is set to be released by Scholastic Press on September 17th. In a press statement, Scholastic Press shared, “Hoffman’s novel will dramatize how ‘state-sponsored discrimination turns ordinary people into monsters’.”
“Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl has captivated and inspired readers for decades. Published posthumously by her bereaved father, Anne’s journal, written while she and her family were in hiding during World War II, has become one of the central texts of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, as well as a work of literary genius.
With the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the Frank family’s life is turned inside out, blow by blow, restriction by restriction. Prejudice, loss, and terror run rampant, and Anne is forced to bear witness as ordinary people become monsters, and children and families are caught up in the inescapable tide of violence.
In the midst of impossible danger, Anne, audacious and creative and fearless, discovers who she truly is. With a wisdom far beyond her years, she becomes a writer who will go on to change the world as we know it.”