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Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Influence of One Book: The Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

There are moments in life when we realize how truly powerful the written word can be. For me, this happened when I discovered the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho. Of course, I’d read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Everyone has, even my nine year old daughter. It’s been translated into 60 languages, listed as one of the best books of the twentieth century, and made into films.

Still, Boise, Idaho seemed like an odd place for a memorial to someone who died in the Holocaust. And that’s precisely the point. The monument is all about the influence one person can have in the world. It displays quotes from around the world: Mahatma Gandi, Maya Angelou, Confucius, Chief Joseph and a student in Sarajevo.

The monument shows a statue of Anne Frank, her diary hidden behind her back, peering out of her attic window.




A significant portion of the monument is dedicated to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document is presented on several stone tablets resembling the pages of a book.


In a fitting tribute to Anne Frank's love of stories and writing, the monument sits between the Boise Public Library and The Log Cabin Literary Center, where young writers gather to learn the craft of writing.




When an author sets down a universal truth, it can spread to the ends of the earth. Even to Boise, Idaho.


So what is your universal truth? What book that you love has reached to the ends of the earth? What impact has it had?


14 comments:

  1. One book that comes to mind when thinking of Anne Frank's diary is the Freedom Writers' Diary. The movie they made of it doesn't even come close to doing those diary entries justice. It is truly inspiring to not only read about the harsh realities of what those teenagers' lives were like, but to experience with them how they changed--largely due to their experiences with literature.

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  2. Thanks for the recommendation, Cat. I hope we'll get lots of great suggestions for books that change the way you look at the world. Or films. For me, Hotel Rwanda was like that. It hurt to watch, but the experience changed me.

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  3. Thought-provoking post! One book that I found uplifting and universal in its message is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat-Pray-Love". The depiction of people around the world and the common quest for identity and connection resonated with me.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

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  4. Thank you for the recommendation, Victoria. I've been meaning to look into that book, but now I definitely will.

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  5. What a fabulous place! I do love that it's in Boise, Idaho!

    Lots of books have had a profound moral influence on me: Elie Weisel's Night, Toni Morrison's Beloved... Books help us learn to see from other perspectives, and feel pain that isn't ours.

    Thanks for the post!

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  6. Thank you so much for posting, Elisa, and for give us some more great titles to check out.

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  7. What a great post, Clarissa! And how cool to have such a neat landmark nearby. I love seeing the pictures and hearing about how far-reaching Anne's life story was.

    I'll have to think on the topic of life or world-changing books for me. I tend to be a pop-culture junkie, but I don't think Harry Potter or Twilight really fit into the Anne Frank category. LOL!

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  8. Wonderful post. As AvonLadyJerrica said, my choice of reading material really doesn't change the world. I only read fiction, mostly paranormal romances, so I couldn't add to the list. I have read the diary of Anne Frank, which I loved.

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  9. I can't think of any books to recommend that fit in this category either. But what a wonderful post and I love the pictures. I'm not sure there will ever be another book in the same category as the Diary of Anne Frank, the book was simply phenomenal in its simplicity and its emotional impact on the world.

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  10. My husband just suggested Helen Keller because of the awareness it's brought to everyone about the blind. Now I've never read Helen Keller all the way through myself, but I have caught bits and pieces through school and I remember it being a very emotional piece as well.

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  11. Hi P.L.,

    Thank you for stopping by and visiting the Lady Scribes. It's always a pleasure to see your posts.

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  12. Clarissa, what a wonderful post. I think we often forget how powerful the written word can be, until we are moved by it ourselves. :)

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  13. What a lovely post, Clarissa. For me, there have been a few books, but books by Margaret Laurence have always spoken to me on a such a deep level, you sometimes wonder where the book stops, or how someone knew how to write something so true to you. In particular, "The Diviners." "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is another one, meant to be re-read if you ever doubt the power of following your unique path, and the help the universe gives us.

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  14. Wonderful, thought-provoking post! Thanks for sharing it (especially on a hard-writing day).

    ~~Angi

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