I only recently became aware of this book but it was written almost 20 years ago. It's a children's book (in the introduction the author mentions that most of the book's readers are about 10 years old) but it is still a poignant and very touching story that is based on real events during WW2.
The book is set in 1943. Annemarie is ten years old and lives in Copenhagen with her parents and younger sister. Her best friend Ellen lives next door. Ellen's family are Jewish and when the Germans begin to round up the Jews in Denmark, Annemarie's family step up to help Ellen and her family. The story is told from Annemarie's point of view.
While I am familiar with many stories of heroism during WW2 I had never heard specifically about Denmark and the way that the Danes saved so many of their Jewish population. Even though it's a children's story, it still makes you think about the risks that people took and how relevant even today it is to act as a bodyguard for minorities who may be marginalised.
The main themes of this book are: the 2nd World War, courage, danger and love. The main characters are Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen, who is Jewish. They're both 10 years old. This story takes place in Copenhagen in 1943 when the 2nd World War is starting and the Jewish are being relocated.
The story is about how Annemarie needs to be courageous to help Ellen and her family to escape and be safe. Will they survive? Will they return to a normal life?
My favorite part was when Annemarie ran in the dark forest to bring her Uncle a very important package and risked her life to save some Jewish families and her best friend's family. I learned that even risking our life for people is much better than letting people die and doing nothing about it. My opinion is that this book is fantastic, realistic and exciting. I highly recommend it.
Why did I pick this book up? I have wanted to read Lois Lowry for a while, but I had to read it for work as my class are studying it for two months.
Thoughts: I was really pleasantly surprised. Whilst definitely aimed for a younger audience, this book was emotional and engaging.
I thoguht it was interesting how the story was set in Denmark and dealt with Nazi occupiation in a different country from Germany. It was also interesting to notice the changes in terms of the Nazi soldiers and how they carried themselves as tensions escalated.
The tale of the king of Denmark was fun and I was so pleased to read that it was based on the true king of Denmark who would ride his horse around the city during war time. It general actually, I was really pleased to see how historically accurate it was, including the Danish navy bombing their own ships so the German’s couldn’t use them during war.
The characters in this story were lovely. I loved the friendship and innocence shared between Annemarie and Ellen, and the lengths the girls would go to protect each other. For a book with quite a small cast of characters, you become so attached to each of them and your heart aches for their woes.
How could I use it in my teaching? We’re using this book in a 2 month session as a jumping off point to discuss World War 2. All the students are really enjoying it, even the ones who have already read it.
Did it have good representation? For the story it told, it had the representation it needed. We had a non-religious (?) family and a Jewish family and that was it.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I found it both touching and enlightening. It gave me great insight into the experience of the Danes during Nazi occupation, particularly how brave they were as a nation which led to them saving thousands of jewish lives. A must read for children and adults alike.
'Number The Stars' is aimed at readers aged 8 to 12 years, although a children's book, it is still a very enjoyable read.
Annemarie's life in Nazi occupied Copenhagen has been fun but is becoming very complicated. The story is written as Annemarie sees things - it is a simple, yet very effective story of how the Danish Resistance managed to smuggle amongst all the Jewish population across to Sweden.
The plot is absorbing and there is a definate sense of the pride of the Danes even whilst their small country is being terrorised by the Nazis.
The story of the strong and deep friendship between Annemarie and Ellen is the backbone of the book.
I love this book because Annemarie shows lots of bravery and the story is a bit secret because the family of Annemarie's best friend are jewish. The main characters are: Annemarie, Ellen, Kirstie, Peter and Lise.The story takes place in Copenhagen (in Denmark) during the 2nd world war. The nazis are searching for all the jews. One day, Annemarie,her sister Kirstie and Ellen were walking back home, they were charged to pass by the shop to buy some buttons for Kirstie, but the shop was closed. Annemarie saw a nazi sign. They came back home and told their mother what happened. Mrs Johansen said that Mrs Hirch and her family had been taken by the nazis because they were jewish.The life of Ellen and her family was in danger. What I learn from this book is that people who are different should not be persecuted. My favorite part is when they pretend that there has been a death.
Emma-Lyle Dampoux, Our School, CM2 I love this book because it's interesting and it's about secrets. At the beginning it is a little hard to understand, but then it gets easier. The people in the book did the right thing. The book is about a family and their two little girls Annemarie and Kirsti and about how they helped their Jewish friends and their daughter Ellen escape during Danemark during WWII. Annemarie was courageous, tall and thin and Ellen was stocky and very nice. They were best friends. Kirsti was funny and not afraid of the German soldiers. The main themes of the book are about courage and helping other poeple. I learned about the Resistance and a lot about how it was during the war. My favourite part was the end, but I cannot tell you...
I found this book truly moving and have read it again and again as a child and an adult. Lowry deals with the subject of bravery at different levels in a way that is easy to grasp and her characters are easy to identify with giving the book more depth. She deals with a very serious subject without being melodramatic and writes a fantastic explanation at the end of the book explaining how much is fact and how much is fiction.