Title: Storming the Tulips
Author: Hannie J. Voyles, compiled by Ronald Sanders
Acquired: From the publisher for review consideration
One Sentence Summary: A collection of essays from children who attended the same school as Anne Frank, the 1st Montessori School in Amsterdam.
One Sentence Review: As a stand-alone book, Storming the Tulips feels incomplete; in conjunction with other WWII stories, the essays offer a new perspective.
Long Review: Readers are familiar with the story of Anne Frank. Her diary, recorded while while she was hiding from the Nazi’s, is practically required reading for elementary and high school students.
Storming the Tulips by Ronald Sanders, translated by Hannie J. Voyles, is a companion to this story — a collection of essays from other students at the school Frank attended before she went into hiding. These stories are stories from the outside, what life was like for children as the world they knew was gradually taken over.
Like most essay collections, some of these stories were more vivid and interesting than others. I was fascinated by one story by a child who joined the Nazi Youth Party, if only because it seems impossible, in retrospect, to understand how a person could be taken in by that movement.
I also struggled a bit with the editing of the book. It was hard for me to tell where comments from the author ended and a personal story began. Some also had introductions and others didn’t, giving the book a bit of inconsistency. There’s also a bit of context for life in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation given near the beginning, but not enough to make this book one to read on it’s own.
Storming the Tulips is a nice addition to the canon of WWII essays and personal accounts, but should definitely read in conjunction with a more comprehensive history of this time.
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