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A New Coat for Anna
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A New Coat for Anna

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,208 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
This is a 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. Author: Harriet ZiefertReading Level: Ages 4-8Format: 40 pages, Paperback Publisher: Dragonfly Books (May 12, 1988) ISBN: 978-0394898612
Paperback, 40 pages
Published May 12th 1988 by RHUS (first published 1986)
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Based on a true story, during the aftermath of WWll in the Netherlands, about a mother's love and sacrifice for her daughter during a time when people had no money to spend.

Such a lovely story. A young girl named Anna has grown out of her coat and her mother finds a way to provide her with a new one by Christmas. She barters.

She takes one of her own treasures to a farmer to buy the wool, another to a spinner who spins it into yarn, and then another of her treasures goes to a weaver, and last of
Kathy Roderer
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood, christmas
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
Inhabiting Books
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 rated it really liked it
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
Linda Lipko
A small book, packing a lot of power. Set in post WWII, it is obvious that people are financially struggling. Anna lives with her father. While it isn't mentioned, the reader wonders if perhaps her father was killed in the war. Anna is growing and needs a coat. With no money to purchase a new one, Anna's mother barters her precious possessions to have wool from sheep to make the coat, to have someone take the wool and spin it, to have someone weave the cloth, and then to find a tailor to make th ...more
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hazel-s-books
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.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Jacob read this book to us. During the reading he said, "why not just go to the store a buy a coat". That opened up a discussion about the war, trading/bargaining, and the steps it takes to make a coat. What a different life we live here in America where everything is so easy to get..krb 6/28/16

Ellie read for November Pizza Hut Reading Challenge..krb 11/6/16 she rates this 3 stars.
Becca Holcomb
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
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.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: pic-books
I fully expected to like this story. Anita Lobel's art makes the text come alive. The first image, of a bombed street where people are still living in the buildings, is extremely well done. This is based on a true story, and apparently Ingeborg (Anna's real-life counterpart) still had the coat 25 years later. That should have been part of the story.

A similar story, but with more depth is Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow.
Skylar Smith
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sj-poverty
This was a great book! This book takes place around war time and shows the struggles of a family. It tears on your emotional strings a little bit because you wish you could help the family in some way. This book is a great example of showing us we take things for granted and how they mean a lot to someone else in need.
Melissa Namba
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dnamba
I loved this book. it showed the steps needed to make a cosy abs also showed the sacrificed that her mother had to make in order to pay for it. great for kids!
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
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As the post-war child of a family that suffered through World War II in the Netherlands, I can say that "A New Coat for Anna" has the ring of authenticity. In many ways, it reminds me of first-hand stories I heard from my parents and older siblings about the hardships--and the creativity--of ordinary people during those very difficult years.
This well-written story takes the reader through a year in Anna's life, as her mother arranges to have a new coat made by bartering with her neighbors. She t
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
Shanna Gonzalez
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-04-08
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
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
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
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:
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
This is a precious story about the sacrifices that one mom makes to acquire a new coat for her daughter after the war. We really enjoyed this and look forward to reading it again and again.
Julie Fischer
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
This book is a diamond in the rough. I pulled it off the shelf because it looked damaged and I was going to discard it. But when I discard a book by an author I recognize to try to read the book ...and boy am I glad I did. Although it isn't a Christmas Book, I am going to repair the spine and put it in our Christmas book Section! It is an interesting story (apparently based on a true one) And it shows where a coat comes from... not from Old Navy Stores. Well done..It lives to see another check o ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
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
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
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 :-).
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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)
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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
More about Harriet Ziefert...

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