Arme Anne

Book Title Arme Anne
(“Poor Anne”)

Author(s) Blaine Ray
Illustrator(s) Juan Carlos Pinilla Melo
Other Contributors Eric Richards, Cathleen Weigelt-Ferguson
Published by TPRSBooks (view our statement on TPRS Books)
Publication date 2018
Genre Realistic fiction
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website

Total Word Count

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            NO  

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders
Female – main character

Teenagers – main characters

Social classes
Middle Class
Upper Class
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

Anna leads a tough life. Her mother is always on her case. Her family doesn’t have much money but her best friends’ families are rich. She’s extremely jealous of them. When she gets an opportunity to go to Germany, she goes to a city where she lives with a very nice family that has conflicts similar to hers. Her view of her life changes radically. When she returns home, she sees everything in a different light.

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The illustrations in this story support reader comprehension and represent Anne’s perceptions of her own life, as contained in the narration.

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?

1. The idea that a family with a mom and dad is “normal”
2. The constant rich/poor binary rhetoric
3. The stereotypical behaviors associated with females

This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance


Arme Anne tells the story of an American girl who receives an opportunity to travel to Leipzig, Germany and stay with a host family over the summer.  While in the US, she constantly laments the many ways in which her life is lacking, in Germany, she embraces living more in the moment and is able to have many enriching experiences because of this.  This stay abroad gives her a new perspective on life that makes her life back home more enjoyable and peaceful.

Anne experiences many positive interactions with the people and culture(s) of Germany. She embraces not being able to understand everything around her and seeks to make the best of it.  She seems open to learning, and appreciative of the opportunities offered by her school. She also observes how families different from hers are interacting and this gives her a deeper appreciation for her own family.

The first chapter presents a “normal” family as having a father, a mother, and two siblings. This description as “normal” appears in a few different places throughout the novel. Even in the newest edition of the book from 2018, this definition of family is still present. This conception of family is not inclusive of the many ways the readers may be living in family, such as with a single parent, same-gender parents, or with a non-parental relative.

Furthermore, the first few chapters contain a lot of poor versus rich binary language. Anne sees herself as poor, does not drive her own car, cannot buy a lot of clothing, and doesn’t go to restaurants. She wants money but never gets money from her dad. Her best friends are rich, drive their own car, and go to restaurants. When they need money, they get money from their parents. While this creates language repetitions, this simplistic view of Anne and her friends’ lives conflates having money with being happy and having a desirable life.  Though later Anne would say she “has no problems (p. 37)” and has gained a new perspective on what she does have in life, this leaves her friends as very flat characters and does not allow them to have “problems.”  They are simply seen as people who have material comforts, and that’s “okay” with Anne.

Finally, many of the female characters in the story demonstrate fairly stereotypical behavior.  The mother works as a secretary (p. 1) and is depicted as the nag who always is yelling at Anne (p. 3).  Anne and her friends love to shop for clothes and think about them a lot (p. 6).  The female friends Anne makes in Germany begin their friendship by asking Anne if she has a boyfriend back in the US (p. 16).  These depictions of Anne and the female characters around her are flattening.  One wonders what her personal interests are beyond shopping and dancing.

View our statement on TPRS Books

6 thoughts on “Arme Anne

  1. Bettina Albermann June 8, 2021 — 3:00 pm

    I like the updated version of Arme Anna a lot better than the original one. However, the storyline is weird at times: Anna arrives at the airport in Berlin, has a train ticket from Berlin to Leipzig, but does not know that nobody from her guest family will pick her up at the airport. It is also strange that Anna arrives at her guest family‘s house in Leipzig, and Karin, the guest sister, acts surprised that her family didn’t pick up Anna at the airport. I sometimes felt awkward in class, because I teach in a title 1 school, and most students take the bus to school, Which was a problem for Anna. I’d say a good part of my class liked the book, but Bart will eine Katze and Neue Schule, Neue Freunde from TPRS have been more popular in my class.


    1. My colleague used the french version and I liked her approach. She openly admitted that Anna is pretty whiny at times and that perhaps part of her problems came from a narrow worldview. She didn’t have experience with anything other than her home and her little world but traveling allowed her to grow and become more open-minded. I always disliked this book but approaching it in this light seems so much better and a good lesson for all.

      Liked by 1 person

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