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A New Coat for Anna
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A New Coat for Anna

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  656 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Illus. in full color. "A fresh and moving story of a mother's dedication to acquire a coat for her daughter in post-World War II hard times. Anna's mother decides to trade the few valuables she has left for wool and for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. Lobel's pictures do a tremendous job of evoking the period. Insightful and informative, this may make ch ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published May 12th 1988 by Dragonfly Books (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,087)
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Kathy Roderer
This beautifully illustrated picture book opens with an illustration of the skeletal buildings of a post-World War II German city. When the text begins, the reader realizes that it is winter and the child in the story, Anna, needs a new coat for the winter. It is based on a true story, and accurately depicts the problems of the people after the war. Illustrations show the bakery and shops with closed signs, and “no potatoes” next to empty baskets. As the story of Anna’s coat unfolds, over the co ...more
Megan D. Neal
Based on a true story that takes place just after World War II, in an unnamed European town, A New Coat For Anna is the story of how young Anna's determined, enterprising mother, who doesn't have the money to buy Anna the coat she needs, uses the few fine posessions she has left to barter for the goods and services she needs to make Anna's new coat. She trades with the farmer for his sheeps' wool; she trades with the spinner to spin it to yarn; she trades with the weaver to weave the cloth; she ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Loren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teachers, school agers
makes the reader think of after the war how it impacts average every day (civilans) - stores are empty living in rubble. Not enough $ after affects of war. Not a gloom and doom story the images are very strong. Anna has been wearing the same coat for years (The bartering of the new coat is the uplifting part of the story)a one year process.

A story of community ... hopefully, goals and tasks to the goal a new coat. Makes the reader appreciate most of us don't have to make these types of decisons
Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated. Based on a true story, Harriet Ziefert brings to life an enterprising mother who, in post-World War II difficult times, finds a way to trade the few valuable possessions she owns in order to secure the wool and services necessary to give her young daughter Anna a new coat. Anita Lobel's illustrations reflect the time period wonderfully well and allow the young reader to follow along with Anna in the making of the coat. This is a book that I read with ...more
Megan Cureton
A New Coat for Anna takes place in the post World War II times. Anna's mother felt bad because she didn't have the money to buy Anna a new coat, but she could trade people items she had in return for the materials and services to make a new coat. Her mother gave her valued items for the wool, services of a spinner, tailor, and weaver in exchange for Anna to get her new coat she needed for winter because hers was old. I really enjoyed this story about Anna and he mother and their journey of makin ...more
I love this book. I find that the way it describes Anna and her mother going about getting her coat to be a beautiful example of how life could be, and a way that we could all work together, bartering goods and services to ensure that everyone's needs are being met. There is extensive trading, effort, and appreciation for all people at every stage of this book. It is a beautiful story that I think would be good for everyone child's collection.
Soothing images and clear, generous text allow us to follow the year-long creation of an overdue winter coat in this true tale of patience, resourcefulness and the quiet optimism of a community emerging from war.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.
Becca Holcomb
This is such a great social studies book. In my second grade placement we were working on the concept of batertering and trading itemns instead of using money to purchase things. Throught the entire story the family baters in order to get Anna a new coat.
I would read this book while discussing team work and helping each other. Money was scarce during the Great Depression so the mother traded items she loved to get the part she needed for the coat. Everyone was able to do their part and the final product was so beautiful. Each contributor also got something they wanted out of it. I would read this book before a group project.
Interest Level
Grades 3 - 5
Reading Level
Grade level Equivalent: 3.1
Lexile Measure:
So, this book is probably more 4.5 stars - it's not like it has a riveting storyline although I am always compelled to things that surround WWII which this book does. I think I fell in love with the sweet little girl in the book and the sacrifices her mother made in order to provide a warm coat for her daughter. It also hit some character issues that we have been working with in our girls as far as patience, endurance, resourcefulness, and work ethic. I think all of these points could be taught ...more
Sandy Brehl
I've loved this book, based on a true story of post-WWII survivors, since it was first published. Anna and her mother have survived the war years intact physically, but with few worldly goods or resources. Anita Lobel's opening spreads reveal Anna in her little blue coat, then one page turn shows her several years later, wearing the same now-too-small and badly tattered coat amid the refugees and relics of her city. The story reveals, in words and images, that Anna and her mother arrived at the ...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Anna and her mother have been waiting for the end of World War II, hoping that their city's economic situation will improve, but at the end of the war their city is desolate. They have no resources, and Anna needs a coat for the oncoming winter. Anna's mother resourcefully barters some of her remaining valuables for wool, spinning, weaving, and sewing, with wild lingonberries gathered by hand to dye the wool. Throughout this process the two build relationships with the farmer, spinner, weaver an ...more
My daughter and I really enjoyed this book. I haven't ever read a children's book that gives an idea of what it was like to live in a post war world. This book is based on the time after World War II had ended and poverty was reality for many. Little Anna needed a new coat and her mom had no money to get her one so it takes on nearly a one year journey from sheep to taylor to get this coat for her little girl. She has to trade family heirlooms that she saved to get wool and have it spun into yar ...more
Marissa Pezzullo
This book took place during the great depression. In this book the mother and daughter Trade what they have for different elements for her to get a new coat cause her old one is too small. This would be a good book for teaching the children to be happy for what they have and not to take it for granted.
Kelly Tisdale
This book was fun to read to see where they went next in the process of making a coat. This would be a great book to use for predicting or even information on the steps to making a coat. I also felt for the mother who gave away many things in order to get one coat for her child.
Angela Foley
This story might be eye opening for some students because they are all used to buying clothes and other things from the store and never have had to make something to wear. Also it shows patience because Anna and her mother wait a whole year for her new coat.
Nov 19, 2014 Shawna added it
Shelves: edrd-314
I love this story and the way it is wrapped up in patience and thankfulness. I think this would be a great book to read to kids for the new thanksgiving and Christmas season. It teaches a lot about how to be thankful and to put hard work in to gain a reward. Great book!
Claudia Bell
This is a good story to introduce elementary age children who are not lacking anything to the hardships of war. This book might also encourage children who are not so blessed with material goods. Anna has to be patient while her mother thinks of very creative ways to supply her with a badly needed coat despite the fact that they have no money.
Chanda Ennis
Anna's mom did not have enough money to buy her a coat. They bartered with items they had getting wool, the wool turned into yarn, the yarn into cloth, the cloth into her coat. Very charming.
What a beautiful story of persistence, resourcefulness, and friendship. Based on a true story. All of my kids loved listening to this sweet book.
Anna needs a new coat, but World War 2 has recently ended and there is a shortage of both goods money. So her resourceful mother barters with a farmer, a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor over the course of a year to provide her daughter with a coat. Then they invite everyone who helped in the process to their house for Christmas dinner. I love the lessons this book teaches, both about history and about character. Children can learn that people face shortages in war-ravaged countries. They can als ...more
Julie Fischer
Oct 02, 2013 Julie Fischer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: to everyone
Recommended to Julie by: School library
My third grade class read this book is small groups, discussing the differences between Anna and their own lives. This was a wonderful book for anyone to read. A mother's hard work to provide for her child may have been one thing these children had in common, but learning the differences between wants and wishes generated great discussions with children of 2010. I recommend this book to adults as well as children. I believe it is best to read this together in order to fully understand the differ ...more
This book is based on a true story of a little girl living during WW11. She asks her mom for a new winter coat and her mom tells her that she has to wait until the war is over. This is a great story teaching a lot of morals to kids. The little girl in the story has to figure out a way to get a new coat, by other resources than buying one. The story also tells the process of making a coat, spinning the wool, and coloring it. It is a great way for kids to see the hard times that people went throug ...more
This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I saw it recently at the library and had to take it home to re-read it. It's still a great story! :-) It details the story of a mother post WWII who doesn't have the money to buy her daughter Anna a new coat, so she creatively finds solutions to barter with a variety of people to have this coat made. It subtly teaches children about delayed gratification, a great message in this "we need it now and can have it now" society. It also stresses working har ...more
We enjoyed this book a lot! It reminded me of Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie DePaola; both books show how a wool coat is REALLY made (as in, you start with sheering sheep and slowly progress from there!). I thought Anita Lobel's illustrations were well done and fit with the post WWII time period nicely. This book is a great counterpart to the "must have it now" syndrome affecting most current American children :-).
This is the story of how Anna & her mother get a new coat for Anna, though they are poor and living in a post WWII world. Anna's mother trades valuable items with the sheep farmer for wool, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor. Anna's mother dyes the yarn herself with cranberries. The book carries the reader through the seasons (it takes a year for the coat to be finished), the process of making a coat, and all the way through to a Christmas celebration filled with gratitude and good neig ...more
Dec 07, 2013 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
My daughter read this "oldie but goodie" to me tonight. I love how it got her thinking!
In the book, a little girl needs a new coat so she and her mother have to barter for each step - sheep's wool, spinning, weaving...
They have to pick the berries to die the fabric red and also barter for the tailor's services. Great reminder that things weren't always as easy and fast as a drive to the store (the girls has to wait a YEAR to get her coat!), and for many people things are still not so easy.
Ridgewood Public Library Youth Services
This is one of my favorite picture books of all time! Anna needs a new coat, but it's post-WWII Europe and there are no coats to be had. So Anna's mother gets creative and sets up a series of barters to get the items she needs in order to have a coat made. This story really drives home the point that items don't just magically appear at the store but a lengthy process is needed to create all the components of a coat.
-Brenna (RPL)
This book is soooo sweet. Anna learns about all of the hard work that goes into making a coat: she sees the sheep being sheared, the wool being spun into yarn, the yarn being woven into cloth, the cloth being made into a jacket. And she learns a lesson about the value of things, and the roles people play to help one another, even when money is hard to come by. I can't wait to read this one to my girls.
Lindsey Feldpausch
A young girl named Anna needed a coat for winter. Her mom trades various items to gain wool and the services necessary to turn the wool into a coat. This book beautifully shows the process of how a wool coat is made. The story is the perfect length with pleasant pictures. The mom in the story is loving and the girl is thankful because at the end of the story she returns to the sheep to give them a hug!
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Harriet Ziefert grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, where she attended the local schools. She graduated from Smith College, then received a Masters degree in Education from New York University.

For many years, Ziefert was an elementary school teacher. She taught most grades from kindergarten to fifth grade. "I liked it," she said, but she stopped teaching when she had her own sons. When her childr
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