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From Anna

by Jean Little
201 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna

Enjoyable young read, morally upright though lacking God.

Plot

Nine year old "Awkward Anna" is a failure at school and everything else. Scorned by most of her family and her teachers, Anna loves only her father, a wise, understanding, and caring man. But even he doesn't see what Anna truly needs. When the family moves from Germany to Canada, will it give Anna more than she ever dreamed of or crush her completely?

Morality

Many characters are cruel without meaning to be and Anna herself is, understandably, resentful and uncaring about them. This is not condoned, however, and it is shown that Anna needs to see that her family also has needs. Unconditional love is a key theme.

Spiritual Content

None.

Violence

The story takes place in the 1930s and Anna's father senses trouble growing in Germany where they live. Nothing is stated, save that Anna (and therefore the reader) feels his fear. It is mentioned that her uncle died.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The father is given a pipe and tobacco as a present, and he tries to smoke it.

Sexual Content

A girl correctly deduces that two adults are in love because of the way they look at each other.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Some insults are shouted, but just things like "four-eyes" (because of the child's glasses).

Conclusion

Set shortly before WWII, 'From Anna' is a beautiful story full of characters who are very true to life. Some of the themes may be over little ones' heads, but that just makes it more enjoyable for older readers, without spoiling it for younger ones. Most people either have been or know someone like Anna, hiding their pain so deeply that none can approach them. The book also does very well showing how hurtful thoughtless words can be. Most of the story is seen through Anna's eyes, lending the book a touch of innocence and childhood sweetness.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 8-10

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