After reading The Giver, I knew I had to have more Lois Lowry. I shamefully must admit that I’ve also never read Number the Stars. As an interesting side note, this book was the first I’ve ever read on an EReader (I borrowed one from my colleague to test whether I wanted to purchase one). This amazing story follows Annemarie Johansen, a ten year old girl living in Copenhagen, Demark during the Nazi invasion and her family’s attempt to protect her best friend’s Jewish family. When the Johansen’s concealed Annemarie’s best friend Ellen as their own daughter, they put themselves at great danger and risk. My heart was pounding when the Nazi’s stormed the Johansen’s house in the middle of the night and began questioning whether Ellen was truly their daughter. The Johansen’s quick thinking and bravery is so admirable. Lowry did an amazing job at making the reader feel all the emotions the characters were experiencing.
Although Number the Stars is classified as a historical fiction story to introduce children to the Holocaust, almost all of the details were based on true accounts. Lowry definitely did her research on the resistance and survival when writing this novel. This book informed me of the lengths the Danes went to protect the Jews. In the author’s notes, readers learn that the Danes helped nearly 7,000 Jews to flee from the Nazis.
Number the Stars truly deserved the 1990 Newberry Medal for the ‘most distinguished contribution to American literature for children’. If I had to sum up the book in three words: touching, powerful, and unforgettable. A must read for all ages.