An Interview with Barbara Lowell, Author of “Behind the Bookcase”

By Taylor Elgarten, Kar-Ben

Today we welcome Barbara Lowell to the blog to share her inspiration and hopes for her new picture book Behind the Bookcase: Miep Gies, Anne Frank, and the Hiding Place in which the story of Anne Frank is retold from the unique perspective of her protector, Miep Geis.

Where did you get the inspiration for your latest Kar-Ben book?

I have always been interested in Anne Frank. After I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, I kept thinking about Miep Gies. I discovered that she had written her autobiography, Remembering Anne Frank: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. After reading her book, I knew I wanted to tell her story and about her friendship with Anne Frank.

What is the most interesting thing you learned in the process of writing your book?

I learned what it was like to live under Nazi occupation in the Netherlands and how so many good, courageous Dutch people fought against the Nazis by hiding Jewish people. I also learned how difficult it was for all Dutch people to survive during the occupation.

How do you hope your book will impact the Jewish life of a child?

My book is about the Holocaust. It is extremely important that all of us never forget what happened to millions of Jewish children, women and men. I hope that there will always be books available to children about this dark time in world history that will touch their heart.

What are some fun facts about you?

I’m a history nerd. I’m always reading a history related adult nonfiction book. And I love biographies. I belong to a children’s writer’s book club, so I read lots of middle grade and some young adult novels. I love to travel and have been fortunate to have visited many European countries and even French Polynesia.

Praise for Behind the Bookcase

“A historically accurate but relatively gentle introduction to the Holocaust for elementary-age readers.” — Booklist

“The book focuses in particular on Miep Gies, the gentile woman who helped them and then found the diary, and some of the details about her childhood are startling.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A solid, additional title that can serve as an introduction to Holocaust literature.” – School Library Journal

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