Bestselling author Alice Hoffman will release a middle-grade novel that imagines what Anne Frank’s life was like before she began keeping a diary.
Hoffman’s forthcoming book, When We Flew Away: A Novel of Anne Frank Before the Diary, is slated for release by Scholastic on September 17. Written with the cooperation of the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank House, the book was initiated by Scholastic editors Lisa Sandell and Miriam Farbey, who tapped Hoffman for the project, the Associated Press reports.
Hoffman is a prolific author of fiction for adults, best known for her 1995 novel, Practical Magic. She has written many works of magic realism, fantasy, and historical fiction, including a 2019 novel about a young German Jewish girl set during the Holocaust, The World That We Knew.
In a statement issued by Scholastic, Hoffman called Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, which she read at age 12, “the book that affected me more than any other.”
“It changed the way I looked at the world. It changed the person I was and the person I would become,” Hoffman said. “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 novel, Scholastic says, will examine how “the Jews in the Netherlands are caught in an inescapable swell of violence and hate, and Anne is shaped as both a young woman and as a writer who will change the world.” Her private journal, originally published in 1947, has since sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages.
Anne Frank House Executive Director Ronald Leopold said in a statement that he hoped the book would “persuade young readers that contributing to a better world is both necessary and possible.”
Amy Reiter is a writer in Brooklyn.