The Diary Of Anne Frank Made Inclusive For People With Cognitive Difficulties
An Easy Reading adaptation of Anne Frank’s legendaryThe Diary of a Young Girl has been created by the The Anne Frank Center in Argentina, a branch of the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands. Made in association with Visibilia Publishing and the Eudeba Foundation, the adaptation is tailored to people with cognitive difficulties.
BUENOS AIRES — The Diary of Anne Frank was first published on June 25, 1947 as Het Achterhuis (The Annex) in Dutch, selling a modest 3 million copies.
The work is unique for several reasons: its literary style, its significance as a historical document, and the fact that teenagers from all walks of life can identify with it.
To that end, it has already been translated into more than 70 languages. Now, 76 years after it was first published, Argentina’s Anne Frank Center has launched a first-ever Easy Reading edition, in Spanish.
This version of "El Diario de Ana Frank" was written in collaboration with people with intellectual and learning disabilities. Easy Reading is a support technique that helps readers better understand a book through adapted text, images and formatting.
Héctor Shalom, director of the Anne Frank Center in Argentina, explained to Clarín that the goal was to make the world's most famous diary accessible while remaining loyal to the source material.
“For us, the challenge is to make the diary more accessible without compromising any fidelity (to the original)," Shalom says. "We've been very careful that The Diary of Anne Frank isn't trivialized, misrepresented and doesn't lose its essence."
How is this new edition different?
With its circulation as the ultimate goal, the team spent two years selecting half the original text to adapt, “the most important parts that tell her story, and the parts that share the deepest thoughts,” said a spokesperson for the publisher.
A team of validators with various cognitive difficulties also worked on the book, to obtain the best results. They gave feedback on whether they understood each paragraph, and highlighted necessary corrections where they did not.
The museum assures that the latest version is faithful to the original text, allowing Anne’s words to inspire and give hope in a new way.
The Anne Frank Center in Argentina.
Youth and Anne Frank
The Anne Frank Museum invites its visitors to reflect on the dangers of anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination, as well as on the importance of freedom, equal rights and democracy. Thus, leaning on their belief in the value of young people in the transmission of history, they turn to "peer education".
Youth is a recurring theme at the Anne Frank Museum in Argentina. A striking number of its visitors are teenagers and families with children. Also, the volunteer guides are all between 15 and 25 years old.
Young people resonate with the text because, despite the incomparable context of being a teenager who spent more than two years hiding from the Nazis, she was experiencing feelings, changes and problems common to all young people.
"Anne Frank is a figure who people identify with her, especially adolescents, who quickly feel close to the text." said the director. "She wrote her diary from the ages of 13 to 15, while going through things most teenagers experience in their lives: falling in and out of love, having dreams, crushes, going through physical changes, exploring their sexuality and their relationship with their parents."
Young people are also taken by the "capacity for resilience, for resistance; how Anne Frank doesn't allow herself to passively be a victim despite the hostility of her situation," he added. “It includes a hopeful, positive quality that resonates in teenagers that speak completely different languages and live in countries far from the legacy of World War II or the persecution of minorities.”
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