Category Archives: Reading


In class we are reading a the book Refugee by Alan Gratz. This week, we talked a lot about the theme of power.

In the beginning of Josef’s story, Hitler and the Nazis had the power. They could arrest Josef’s family or kill them at any time, place or setting. When Josef’s father jumps of the boat to escape being sent back to the concentration camps in Germany, Josef has the power within his family. His father is stuck in Cuba because of mental issues and his mother is starting to go a bit crazy. They are not fit to take care of the family. So, like it or not Josef is the one in power. Another time when Josef is in power is when he and some men on the ship take the crew hostage to try to get them to turn away from Germany. When the group captures the captain and then chicken out when the captain says he will send them back to the CC camps, Josef is the one who speaks up and acts like the one in power.

In the beginning of Isabel’s story, Fidel Castro had the power. He could arrest Isabel’s father anytime he wanted to. When Isabel’s mother is very sick, and the Bahamas police tell them that if they step foot on Bahamian soil the would be sent back, Isabel is the one to speak up and say “Does anyone have aspirin for my mother?”. When Isabel’s and her family escaped the Coast Guard they felt powerful. When Castro broadcasts that any family who wants to leave Cuba by boat can, Isabel and her family feel like they have the power.

In the beginning of Mahmoud’s story, the war has the power. It can kill anyone, at anytime, in any place. Mahmoud and his family feel powerful when they cross over the border to Turkey. They feel powerful when they finally get to Greece, when they crossed the Macedonian border, when they passed the Serbian border. The felt powerful when they deceived the guards at the borders. When they reached the Hungarian border they felt like they had power.

Overall, the theme of power is common throughout all the character’s stories.


In Refugee, the author went back and forth in time to show how different countries were dangerous, but then became safe after a period of time. For example, Mahmoud wants to move to Germany, whereas Josef needs to get away from Germany and wants to move to Cuba, whereas Isabel needs to escape from Cuba and get to the USA. I think the author wants to switch between the stories because he wants to make it easier to link the stories together and it adds a bit suspense…


In the book Refugee, by Alan Gratz, the reason the 3 characters had to flee their homes because of the violence in their countries. They wanted to leave their homes probably because they felt unsafe. All they want is a peaceful, happy and enjoyable life, and their country doesn’t give that to them, so, they want to leave. The character’s reasons for leaving the country are similar, because they are all people escaping violence in their country. The characters reasons for leaving the country are different, because one of them is leaving so their father doesn’t get sent to a concentration camp again. One of them is leaving so their father does not get arrested, and one hasn’t left yet, but I’m pretty sure will, just so he can be safe. Overall, these characters are leaving their countries because of the violence.


In the book Soldier Dog by Sam Angus, Stanley’s brother goes to France to fight in WW1. Stanley is left alone with his mad and explosive father and when his father does something truly terrible, he decides to go find his brother and enlists in the army to join him. He trains dogs to be messengers, but along the way he hits some trouble, at one point he feels so down that he just wants to go home, and although he feels like this sometimes, everything turns out to be OK in the end.

Biography Project – Anne Frank


Anne Frank was a Jewish child growing up in Holland during World War 2. When the Nazis invaded Holland on May 10, 1940 it was impossible to leave Holland so Anne and her family had no choice but to go into hiding.


Childhood/Early Life

Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. She was born in Germany and lived there from when she was born to the age of 4. At the time Anne Frank was born, Germany was having economic problems (the result of World War 1). In 1933 when Anne was 4, Adolf Hitler rose to power and started to discriminate Jews, soon Anne’s father realized that Germany was no longer a safe place to raise his family. So, he decided to move his family to Holland. Anne and her sister Margot were enrolled at Montessori School. But then, the Germans invaded Holland. Anne and her family were no longer safe.

During the time of German occupation Anne had to wear a yellow star to show she was Jewish. Anne was also forced to leave her beloved Montessori School and go to one just for Jews. Anne’s 13th birthday was coming up. This would be the last birthday she would ever celebrate. For her birthday she got her diary, the one that has become so famous over the past 50-60 years. The happy times didn’t last. Less than a month after Anne’s birthday There was a letter from the Germans saying that Margot had to work in a German factory. Now the family had only 1 choice; they had to go into hiding.

Early in the morning of June 6, 1942  Anne’s mother woke her up and told her to dress in 2 undershirts, 3 pairs of pants, a dress, a skirt, a jacket, a summer coat, 2 pairs of stockings, sturdy shoes, a woolen cap and a scarf. Anne did what she was told. She had no idea where she was going. The hiders were joined by 4 other people, Peter Van Daan, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Van Daan and Dr. Albert Dussel. They also had helpers. They were Miep Van Santen, Elli Vossen, Mr. Kraler and Mr. Koophuis. In the hiding place (known now as the Secret Annex) Anne had to whisper and tiptoe in the Secret Annex. For such a lively young girl it was terrible. Everyone in the Secret Annex was getting on everyone’s nerves. In the evening everyone gathered around the radio to hear news about the war. Miep and Elli did their best to make life better for the people in the Secret Annex. The hiders all wished for something. Anne wished to go back to school. The 8 hiders had many close calls. Once in April, 1944 a burglary really frightened everyone. The police had come to investigate the burglary and they rattled the secret door. The 8 hiders sat in the pitch dark and waited. Someone even suggested they get rid of the forbidden radio and burn Anne’s diary. Luckily the hiders didn’t get caught. In 1944, Anne and Peter Van Daan started to hang out together to relieve the bordism. Soon they developed strong crushes on each other. Everyday the hiders went around their daily business wondering if/when they would be discovered. The about the news about the war was getting better and Anne started to fantasize that maybe she would be able to go back to school soon. But then, on the morning of Friday, August 4, 1944, Anne and the others were discovered. People think that someone guessed Jews were hiding on the premises and betrayed them to the Nazis. They gathered their belongings and went first to the Gestapo headquarters, then to the Westerbork prison camp, and the to the Auschwitz prison camp. Later, Anne and Margot were moved to the Bergen-Belsen prison camp. There, Anne became very sick with typhus. Luckily her friend Lies Goosen was also at that prison camp and actually had medicine and food because she got a passport to South America before she was arrested so, she sent 2 packages to Anne. Anne only caught 1. Soon after Margot died, after that Anne also became very ill and died shortly after. Anne died 2 months before the war ended and 3 months before her 16th birthday.



Anne faced many challenges in her life. Her biggest one was hiding from the Nazis. Anne was very lively so the Secret Annex felt like prison for her. One of her other challenges was that she could not go to places like the public pool, movie theaters, certain shops and was even forced to leave her beloved Montessori School and go to a school just for Jews. Overall Anne’s challenge was being a Jewish girl growing up in Holland during World War 2.


Impact on the World

Although Anne died a long time ago, her diary lives on. Millions of people read Anne’s diary. It was printed in around 60 languages. Her diary explains the true horrors of World War 2 through the eyes a young, Jewish girl in hiding.


Colonial America Reflexion

The process of this book was long and hard. First, we had to research on regular colonial life for our Chapter 1. We also had to research for Chapter 2, but this time we picked our top 3 choices and our teacher chose our topic out of our 3 choices. Then, we had to write out our chapters 1 and 2. Next, we had to type those chapters. After that, we used our topic research to write our Chapter 3 which is a letter that has to do with your topic. Then, we typed our chapter 3. Next, we wrote our chapter 4 and typed it. After that, we had to type our glossary and bibliography. Last, we had to put in images, captions and finishing touches. That’s how we made our book.

I really liked working on the colonial america books. I especially liked writing chapter 3  because I liked being able to make something up and use history to make it into a letter. I also liked writing chapter 2 because I liked learning about colonial doctors.

The most challenging part of this process for me was researching for my chapter 2 because it was difficult to find anymore information then what I already had.

I learned that I really like to write historical fiction.

If I did this project again, I think I would have tried to find more images because I would like a few more images.

Overall, I really liked writing this book.