Nava Semel

Nava Semel’s children’s book Becoming Gershona received the 1990 National Jewish Book Award.

My first teacher in writing was Anna Frank, She is the one who taught me that it was possible to turn myself into the character of a story and tell it through “me” instead of “he” or “she.” Anna told me: look around you, the closest places.

I was 12 years old when I first read Anna’s diary. I was a a sabra whose mother was a Holocaust survivor, Anna was a fragile reflection of myself in another world, threatening, yet so familiar. The last page of her diary is engraved in my memory, “I’m awfully scared that everyone who knows me as I always am will discover that I have another side… ” But Anna, this “other side” is what inspires me the most,

Anna still accompanies my writing hand, To the protagonist of my book, “Bride On Paper,” I gave the name Anna, But my Anna survived because she immigrated to Israel before the catastrophe. Perhaps I was trying to save the first Anna, at least on paper.