Annexed by Sharon Dogar


Written by Sharon Dogar

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Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book of the Year Award 2010. Shortlisted for the prestigious Sheffield Children's Book Award 2011.

The Diary of Anne Frank is one of the most treasured children’s books of the last fifty years. Anne’s account of the years she spent in hiding from the Nazi’s in Amsterdam during the Second World War vividly tells much about how she feels about the experience and something about how she views those in hiding with her including Peter, a young man only a few years older than her.

In Annexed, for which there was a considerable amount of media controversy in the lead up to publication, Sharon Dogar sensitively explores Peter’s story; what he feels about the experience of being in hiding, about being a Jew and, in particular, about what he feels about Anne. Initially irritated by what he sees as a rather silly young girl, Peter soon finds himself falling in love with Anne’s vivacity, intelligence and strength of purpose. Looking back from his deathbed in a Nazi concentration camp, Peter’s diary is touching and sensitive. In speculating and embellishing from some known facts and asking many ‘what if’ questions, Sharon Dogar has taken on a difficult task through which she has created a fascinating and inspiring story. It's a story rooted firmly in history and it asks a question of us all: Are we listening? 'Is anybody there?' Peter cries from the depths of his despair in the camps. Read it, and you will be.

From the author, Sharon Dogar:

'Annexed is an imaginary tale, based on history, in which I try to imagine what it might have beel like to actuallly have lived with Anne Frank; to have become the target of her love; and to be so cruelly torn apart from her'.

A message from the author on hearing Annexed had been shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book of the Year Award 2010:
‘Just over a year ago it looked as though annexed might never find a publisher. Seeing it on the Costa shortlist feels wonderful; an unexpected validation.’

From Charlie Sheppard, Editor at Andersen Press, which has two titles - Annexed and Out of Shadows - shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book of the Year Award 2010:

‘There’s so much serendipity and luck in publishing and I think this story just proves that. These books were the first two I bought for Andersen Press. I couldn’t quite believe they’d landed on my desk in my first few weeks in the new job. Both of them changed the way I think, and for me that’s one of the most important things a children’s book can do. But both of them had been rejected by other publishers before they reached me. Wrong desk, wrong time. To have been able to work on these two incredible books has been an honour and a highlight of my career, and to have both of them recognised like this feels like a fairytale ending. I just hope Klaus [Publisher Klaus Flugge is Charlie's boss at Andersen Press] realises that these wonderful novels are one-offs and I won’t have 2 books on the shortlist every year!!’

The Costa Children's Book of the Year Award 2010 Shortlist:

Annexed - Sharon Dogar

Out of Shadows - Jason Wallace

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon - Jonathan Stroud

Flyaway - Lucy Christopher


Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Julia Eccleshare from Lovereading4kids talks to Sharon Dogar about her book Annexed

Everyone knows about Anne Frank, and her life hidden in the secret annexe - or do they? Peter van Pels and his family are locked away in there with the Franks, and Peter sees it all differently. He's a boy, and for a boy it's just not the same. What is it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, to hate her and then find yourself falling in love with her? To know you're being written about in her diary, day after day? What's it like to sit and wait and watch whilst others die, and you wish you were fighting? How can Anne and Peter try to make sense of one of the most devastating episodes in recent history - the holocaust? Anne's diary ends on August 4 1944, but Peter's story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion, the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz - and the terrible conclusion.

Watch the trailer here:

There is also a website for Annexed including videos and teaching resources for KeyStage 3 and 4. Click here to visit.


‘Dogar has been utterly respectful and a lot of care has been taken to ensure Peter’s story echoes Anne’s account. A million miles away from a quick-buck, money-making scheme (of which it’s been accused) and so much closer to an author trying to get her head around a time of atrocity and how it perhaps felt for one ordinary young man in extraordinary circumstances.’ - Keith Gray, The Scotsman

‘A delicate, poised and scrupulous re-enactment.’ - Mal Peet

‘Absorbing...more truthful than 'The Boy in Striped Pyjamas'. 5 stars! - Books for Keeps

‘Dogar creates a believable Peter and sustains emotional tension without becoming prurient or mawkish.’ - Jewish Chronicle

‘Dogar’s decision to write the novel from Peter’s point of view is inspired. (His) story is complex and moving (and) his voice is eloquent.’ - John Boyne

'A powerful and captivating story...told in intense, harrowing detail.' - Fiona Noble,
The Bookseller

'An intimate, thoughtful and absorbing novel.' - Jill Murphy, The Bookbag

About the Author

Sharon Dogar

Sharon Dogar was our Guest Editor in May 2011. Her book selection can be found here.

Sharon Dogar’s first novel, Waves, is a poignant coming-of-age story about a family dealing with the accident of their daughter. It took a while for Sharon to get started, "but then I had ‘the moment,' " she explains. "That moment when a character just arrives in your mind and begs to be written - whether you want to do it or not. I remember it was lunchtime. I walked into the sitting room and had a thought: I was by the sea. And in that moment, I saw a boy with his back to me; he was in the kitchen of a beach house, looking at something on the wall. Looking at it with utter intensity and absorption. I knew straight away his name was Hal. I walked back into my own kitchen and wrote the prologue, immediately and completely, exactly as it remained in the final manuscript. And then I had to write a story to go with it!"

Sharon's second novel, Falling, was published by Chicken House and her third novel, published by Andersen Press is the Costa Children's Book Award nominee Annexed. A brave re-imagining of Anne Frank’s diary, written from the perspective of Peter van Pels, has received an enormous amount of praise and recognition. Annexed created a media frenzy last summer, prompting impassioned discussions. The Guardian described it as ‘a delicate, poised and scrupulous re-enactment’.

Sharon Dogar lives in Oxford with her husband and three children. She loves writing, reading and daydreaming. For the last ten years she’s also worked with adolescents as a psycho-therapist.


Where did you grow up?
On an estate just outside Oxford.And later in a suburb.
PS Haven't really grown up, but trying ...

What were you like at school?
Depends which one you're talking about.
Primary school - happy.
prep school - confused
Convent school - very confused, and a bit angry
Middle school - hard-working, happy
Secondary school - miserable and lonely
CFE/sixth form - suddenly gregarious and not actually in lessons very often

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. A forensic scientist. A Spacewoman. A gamekeeper in Africa. An actor. Someone else, anyone else.

What did you do after you left school?
Went to college in London. Travelled around South America with boyfriend. Went to Pakistan on own. Worked, played, danced a lot, wrote stories and tried to make sense of why the hell we're all here.

Why did you begin writing/illustrating?
I never stopped, so I didn't have to start, I've just always written things down, sometimes to remember and sometimes to forget.

How would you describe your books?
As wondering what if? And if so, how and when and why?

Where do your ideas come from?
Some come from real life, like Hal's eyes, and his insults (courtesy of my two sons) or Sarz catching a flatfish (courtesy of my daughter).

Others just appear, and it feels like they arrive out of thin air, but of course, they don't, they come from all the experiences a person's ever had or heard about. They come from the unconscious.

Philip Pullman once said his daemon would be a magpie, because they steal bright shiny things, and he's right, of course, writers pick up ideas anywhere and everywhere - and they don't really believe in ownership.

What is your ideal place and time for writing/illustrating?
It's not so much the where, although I love my kitchen table, a certain place in Greece and another in France, as well as the Bodleian Library (especially for editing), but mostly, for me, it's the feeling the urge to write, and once I'm in that mode I can write upside down on the bog balancing a sprig of holly on my ... but to save my family the embarrasment we're building a shed at the bottom of the garden to put me in.

Which book would you most like to have written?
So many. Here are a few ....
To Kill a Mockingbird, Beloved, Skellig, The Passion, Northern Lights, The Blood Stone, Lucas, The Grapes of Wrath, A Hundred Years of Solitude, Stand By Me, The Constant Nymph, Rapture (poems by Carol Ann Duffy) The Da Vinci Code (for the money) Anne Frank's Diary, I am David, Across the Nightingale Floor, Fingersmith, Alias Grace, Where the Wild Things Are, Ferdinand the Bull ... the list goes on and on and on ...

What is your favourite film?
Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Psycho, Casablanca ... I think you get the picture ...

What is your favourite music?
Anything I can dance to - and that's almost anything, but never heavy metal.

What is the funniest joke you know?
A millionaire was asked how he got so rich. He replied: I found five pence on the beach and spent it on an apple, polished it really hard and sold it for ten pence. I kept on doing this and by the end of the month I had one pound twenty-five pence.

And then my father-in law died and left me two million pounds.

What is your most precious memory?
Private, and staying that way.

What are you most proud of?
Long term, my family. Short term, actually standing up in front of total strangers and reading a bit of my book out loud!

What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Do it. Do it everyday if you can. Read a lot, look a lot. Don't bother trying to imagine what 'the market wants' or what your mum might think, just sit down wherever you're most at ease, and listen to whatever (or whoever) is inside you - and then make it into words.
If that's too difficult then start by keeping a diary.

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Book Info


320 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Sharon Dogar
More books by Sharon Dogar

Author's Website


Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

2nd September 2010




Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

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