Number the stars

by Lois Lowry

Hardcover, 2011



Local notes

Fic Low





Houghton Mifflin Co. (1989), 137 pages. $14.95.


In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1991)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 1992)


Original publication date


Physical description

137 p.; 20 cm

Media reviews

Jan Mark (Carousel 15, Summer 2000) Morally speaking, Denmark had a 'good war' after it surrendered to the Nazis in 1940. Notably absent from factual and fictional tales of derring-do, the very real heroism of its civilian population is celebrated in Lowry's quiet but stirring story, based on real
Show More
events, which tell of one family's successful bid to send their Jewish friends to safety in neutral Sweden. Instead of comic-strip heroics with implausible intervention by implausible kids, she gives us a situation in which children must be included because they cannot be excluded, fearfully endangered but willing parties to an ethical struggle. The happy ending is entirely credible, even to those old enough to know what might have happened instead. Category: Older.
Show Less
1 more
Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1989) Ten-year-old Annemarie, living in occupied Denmark during World War 11, must test the limits of her own courage when she and her family assist their Jewish friends in their escape from the Nazis. Flawlessly interwoven into her personal account
Show More
are details of the historic and heroic Movement in which Denmark, as a nation, successfully resisted the attempts of the Nazis to exterminate Danish Jews. With their varying degrees of knowledge, each character represents a model of courage in a fast-paced story about individual and collective response to evil. Honor book, 1989 CCBC Newbery Discussion. CCBC Category: Fiction For Young Readers. 1989, Houghton Mifflin, , $12.95. Ages 8-12.
Show Less

User reviews

LibraryThing member Cait86
This book goes straight to my list of top reads for the year, and is another fantastic example of children's fiction that confronts heavy issues head on. Lowry writes about the Holocaust in a way that is accessible for children, and still moving for adults.

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen is the
Show More
protagonist of Number the Stars, a short novel set in 1943 Denmark. Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, is Jewish; up until now, the Nazis, who occupied Denmark from 1940 until the end of the war, had left Danish Jews alone. In October of 1943, however, word was leaked to the Jewish community that they would soon be "relocated" by the Germans. Like many Danish families, Annemarie's parents and uncle plan to send their Jewish friends to safety in unoccupied Sweden. Soon Annemarie is called upon to demonstrate her bravery, as she must play a role in saving the life of her friend.

Lowry places Annemarie in a realistic situation - Annemarie does her part to help Ellen and her family, and the role that she plays is one that suits a ten-year-old. I really dislike it when characters in children's novel act like adults, but in Number the Stars Annemarie has thoughts typical of someone her age. She is scared by Nazi soldiers, and knows that Ellen's situation is serious, but that does not stop her and Ellen from laughing and having fun too. She struggles with the idea of courage, but learns that being afraid does not make one a coward - instead, being courageous is taking action despite being afraid.

Number the Stars was a wonderful book for a very rainy, grey day - it is a touching book about courage, friendship, and hope, and is sure to bring the reader some sunshine.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Whisper1
This 1990 Newbery Medal award-winning book is stunningly powerful. The title is taken from Psalm 147
"The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem;
he gathers in the scattered sons of Israel.
It is he who heals the broken in spirit
and binds up their wounds,
he who numbers the stars one by one"

The setting is 1943
Show More
and Nazi occupied Denmark where, while there is a shortage of food, heat and clothing, there is no shortage of fear and terror wrought by the invasive German soldiers.

Using the historical backdrop of the bravery, courage and sense of moral imperatives demonstrated by the Danish people which resulted in saving the lives of at least 7,000 Jews, Lowry provides a story strong in character, fortitude and resistance.

Highly recommended!!!
Show Less
LibraryThing member melydia
It's interesting how many novels about the Nazis are written from the point of view of a child. This is no exception: Annemarie is a 10-year-old girl living in 1943 Copenhagen, which Germany invaded years before. Her best friend Ellen is a Jew, and one day her parents flee to avoid "relocation."
Show More
Annemarie's parents take in Ellen and have her pose as their daughter. There's quite a bit of tension every time the Nazis show up; I doubt I could have been that calm in the face of such danger at that age. Don't skip the afterword, which explains what parts of the book were based in fact; a surprising amount of details and twists turn out not to be just clever literary devices. It's a good glimpse of history, and unlike most books written about this time period, I didn't cry even once. Which was a nice change.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is set in Nazi occupied Denmark and tells the story of how the country sprang into action to save their Jewish population when word got out that they were about to be detained. From the actions of the Resistance, the Danish police, the fishermen and the general
Show More
population many were saved.

This book concentrates on one family and is told through the eyes of 10 year old Annemarie, as she and her family help their neighbours escape to Sweden. By focusing on this small aspect of the greater story, we are drawn into the emotional aspects of this event. As Annemarie learns and shows what bravery is, we experience the terror, the suspense and the hope that she did

Lois Lowry won a well-deserved Newberry Award with Number The Stars in 1990. She has delivered a inspiring story that shines a light on a little known historical event and effortlessly manages to show through one family’s decency and kindness how a nation responded to help a segment of their own population.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Kiwiria
Very sweet book showing a snapshot of life in Denmark during World War 2. It was rather odd to read such an accurate account in a "foreign" book, but at the same time, I was almost proud that the Danish resistance was deemed interesting enough to be recorded by somebody outside Denmark.

It's a very
Show More
quick read - took me no more than an hour - and obviously targeted towards children. For all that though, it was a very poignant book, and captured the atmosphere (as portrayed in other books... obviously I wouldn't know myself) very well. Actually, in style and atmosphere both it reminded me a lot of my favourite WW2 novel - "Karen Kurer" by Estrid Ott. "Karen Kurer" is aimed at a slightly older audience though and unfortunately hasn't been translated to English.
Show Less
LibraryThing member LaurenAllard
Number the Stars is about a girl named Annemarie who lives in Denmark during World War II and the German occupation. Her best friend is a girl named Ellen whose family is Jewish. When they discover that the German soldiers are coming to "relocate" all Jewish families, Annemarie's family takes in
Show More
Ellen as their own daughter to hide her from the soldiers. They also send Ellen's parents with a close friend to hide them as well. They all meet up at Ellen's Uncle's house, along with a few other Jewish families. They are taken to Ellen's Uncle's fishing boat, and he takes them across the sea to Sweden where they can be free.
Show Less
LibraryThing member TadAD
This young adult novel is set during 1943, when the population of Denmark banded together to smuggle the Jewish population of the country to neutral Sweden ahead of the Nazi roundup. 95% of the Jews in the country were moved to safety (another 4% were eventually rescued from the death camps). Lowry
Show More
based quite a bit of the story on actual events and individuals.

This isn't the best book to be awarded the Newbery Medal; the story feels a bit lightweight, particularly in respect to the feelings and spirit of the non-Jewish population. However, it's not the worst either with the fairly typical profile for a Newbery book—smooth reading, sympathetic characters, strong moral message.

Perfectly suitable for the younger end of the YA spectrum.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Euphoria13
Number The Stars is one of my all time favorite books. Although its short, the story does not lag in content nor in dialogue. It is filled with interesting characters, such as Annemarie Johansen, the protagonist. In Number The Stars Annemarie is a young girl who lives in Copahegen during WWII. Her
Show More
life becomes acustom to the changes that the war brings. But one of the changes that happens in the story, is not one that anyone can get used to. The "relocating" of jews.

Annemarie's best friend is Ellen Rosen, who is a Jew. On th day of the Jewish New Year, many jews are discovered by the lists of their residence from the synagogues that they attend. Ellen and her parents are one of the many who are in these lists. As a way to help them from being discovered by Nazi's, Annemarie's family decide to help them. Ellen's parents are taken to a secure place by Peter, Annemarie's almost Brother-In-Law. A young man of nineteen.

As for Ellen, Annemarie and her little sister and mother take her to the countryside of Denmark, by the sea. It is there that they hide Ellen at Uncle Henrik's cottage. A beautiful story of bravery and courage set during a time of danger, resistence, and fear. Reading this story again reminded me how much i admire all of the survivors and heroes of WWII and the Holocaust. As well of why i enjoy learning and reading about this time period.
Show Less
LibraryThing member michirenee87
Summary: During World War II, the Danish people try to smuggle in as many Jews as possible to rescue them from the Nazis. Ellen is one of these Jews, and she is taken in by the family of her best friend, Annemarie. This story tells of their courage, and is a true testament of friendship between two
Show More
girls who will do anything to keep one another safe.

Reflection: What a touching book. I couldn't put it down. I'm not much of a history person, but my grandfather was a Nazi soldier, so I'm often drawn to stories about the people during World War II. Not only is this a great book that is historically accurate, but is is also a great story of friendship.

Extension Ideas: This would be a good time to do some team-building activities. It would be neat to visit a ropes course, and do some trust games and team-building challenges. It's a great way to teach the children about how important friendships are. Another idea would be to have the children share with the class about their best friend, and maybe share a hardship they've been through.
Show Less
LibraryThing member SylviaSmile
A beautifully written story of friendship, family, solidarity, and courage, this book details the story of Annalise and her friend Ellen during the time of the Nazi occupation of Denmark. When the Nazi regime is about to begin taking the Jews into custody, Annalise's family must work together to
Show More
smuggle Ellen, who is Jewish, and her family into Sweden. What makes this story so powerful is all the details: the gold Star of David necklace which Annalise rips off of Ellen's neck as the Nazis search their apartment, the smell of fish by the seaside, the unevenness of the path over which the refugees must travel to the waiting ship. Since this story never descends into graphic detail of the fate awaiting the Jews who are caught, I can recommend it to readers as young as 8; I would say 8-13, but even older readers will appreciate this book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member ValerieStanley
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie and her friend Ellen Rosen live in a world filled with school, food shortages, and Nazi soldiers marching through town. Ellen goes to live with Annemarie and pretends to be one of the family. Ellen is Jewish and Annemarie
Show More
learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. This was a good little story. It is heart breaking to think that many of people lived like this once upon a time. This book really makes you think about what you have and what you think are "problems". I am sure they are nothing compared to what these two young girls went through.
This is an upper level book and could be used as a bases to a report on the war that is covered in the book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member RobertaRogers
This story is place in the year of 1943. The story is about a little girl who is brave. She is living throught the time where Nazi soliders were present on every street, shortage of food, and strict rules. She is best friends with a Jewish girl and one night she had stayed with them while her
Show More
family was in hiding as well. The Jews had to into hiding because the Nazi soliders were capturing them. The day after her friend stayed with her they took her to their uncle's house in the country. That day they played outside and noticed that Sweden was across the sea. When night came Jews were smuggled into the uncle's house and then hurried through the forest and placed on boats. Nearly 7000 Jews were smuggled to Sweden for freedom!

I absolutely loved this book. The way the author used descriptive words made me think I was in that time period.

I would read this story aloud to older children. I would read a chapter or two at a time. It would be a great accessory to a history lesson over Nazis and Jews.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Ten-year old Annemarie Johansen and her family fights for their Jewish friends survival during the Nazi occupation in Denmark during World War II. Pre-warned that the Nazi’s intended to relocate the Jews, the Johansen family take in Ellen while her parents hide elsewhere. Posing as another
Show More
daughter, they visit Uncle Henrik at his home near the sea. Courageously, the family smuggles Ellen and her family out of the country. Overall this is an interesting book however, it is geared towards a younger audience.
Show Less
LibraryThing member jebass
Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen are 10 years old and living in Copenhangen, Denmark during the Nazi occupation. There are the obvious trials of military war-time occupation; there are soldiers on every corner, food shortages, no butter or cream, and Annemarie's little sister
Show More
balks at the idea of having shoes made from fish. When the Nazis start taking Jews from their home, Jewish Ellen moves in with the Johansens in their apartment, ultimately leaving with them to the seaside to stay with Annemarie's uncle. One evening, with much confusion from Annemarie, she is called upon to perform a very important task that could be the difference between safety and danger for her best friend. It's an absolutely beautiful book, which would serve as a fantastic starting point from which to build a lesson about WWII or military occupation.
Show Less
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Ten-year-old Annemarie learns about bravery as she helps to save her Jewish best friend, Ellen, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Many children's authors try to blend education with entertainment, but the resulting works are often predictable and filled with stereotypical characters. This book shows how
Show More
well it can be done. Lois Lowry skillfully weaves history, geography, and moral education into a story that will both thrill and inspire young readers. Highly recommended to readers of all ages.
Show Less
LibraryThing member sarah-prebble
This story takes place in Denmark in 1943 during the Nazi control over Europe. Annemarie and Ellen are best friends and the only difference between them is that Ellen is Jewish. Ellen goes to stay with Annemarie’s family when Ellen’s family has to flee from the Nazis. Since Ellen resembles
Show More
Annemarie’s sister Lise that passed away the family passed off as one of her sisters when the Nazi's came to their apartment..

I was impressed with the courage that such young people can have. Also, I was surprised how Lise did not die in an accident, but while she was working with the Resistance. The kindness and risk that the Johansen’s portrayed shows how kind the human spirit can be.

This would be a good introduction to a history lesson over the Holocaust and World War II. Also, you could have your students write a short paper about how this story was a test of courage and bravery.
Show Less
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
The book is written from the perspective of a child living in Denmark, Anne-marie, whose family helps to shelter Jews from the Nazis. As with most other books concerning the Holocaust/WWII, I am awed by the bravery of the Jews and those who helped them and shocked at the brutality of the Nazis.
LibraryThing member genevieve1331
“Number the Stars,” by Lois Lowry is a story about two young girls and their situations during the Halocaust in Denmark. The story takes place in Denmark in 1943 and is told from the voice of ten year old Annemarie. Annemarie and her best friend Ellen, who is Jewish, begin to notice drastic
Show More
changes in their hometown with the nazi occupation. Due to the growing threat, Ellen’s family is forced to flee Denmark and leave Ellen with Annemarie’s family as she poses as their daughter. After many close encounters with the nazis, Ellen’s family is finally reunited in Sweden with the help of Annemarie’s family and members of the nazi resistance group. The war ends soon after and Ellen’s family plans to return back to their home in Denmark.

I remember reading and being moved by this book in fifth grade. Although difficult for a young mind to understand such tragedy, Lowry does an excellent job portraying such a horrific event to the young reader. The characters in this book show great courage and despite fear stand up for what they believe in, which can be an excellent example for children today.

After reading this book, children could write a journal about when they stood up for a friend or cause even if they were scared. This would also be a great addition to a Halocaust unit in the classroom. After reading this book, the Halocaust could be discussed and more history of the event could be given, perhaps followed by some sort of research project. The class could organize a school wide project like collecting one penny to represent each Jew killed in the Halocaust to show people the severity of the event.
Show Less
LibraryThing member NikkiHearts
When I had originally brought this book, I didn't think that it would relate to World War 2, but after I started reading, I couldn't stop.
After I read this story I began reading other World War 2 stories about the Jewish people and Holocaust survivers.
I was really touched by this novel, I had read
Show More
about something that could have been avoided, but wasn't.
It really is a shame, people hating others because of what they are or what they have.
I really hate the Holocaust.
Show Less
LibraryThing member lilibrarian
Annemarie's best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. The Germans have occupied Denmark, and will be relocating all the Jews. Annemarie's family helps Ellen's family disappear, in spite of the risk to themselves.
LibraryThing member vibrantminds
A story taking place during WWII in Copenhagen, Denmark, of how one family helps their Jewish friends escape to Sweden. Although the story is fictional it is based on true facts. Even during a time of war and desperation, human decency and heroism still can hold a place in the world and make a
Show More
difference even from a child's perspective.
Show Less
LibraryThing member dccab73
"Number the Stars" is basically about a young girl, Annemarie and her family who assist Jews in Denmark to escape Nazi Relocation. I thought the book was very well written and interesting. Every time I read another book about the Holocaust, it just amazes me how incredibly evil we can be as a
Show More
society, but at the same time I am extremely encouraged by the countless people like Annemarie and her family (although fictional) who put everything on the line to save others. I have read several Holocaust themed books. In my opinion this is not the best, however it is still a phenomenal book and a mandatory read for its genre!
Show Less
LibraryThing member HeatherLINC
A poignant story for young teens which gives them an insight into the horrors of the Holocaust without overwhelming them.
LibraryThing member hgcslibrary
It's 1943 and life in Denmark is filled with food shortages and the Nazi soldiers marching. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated".
LibraryThing member Khoffy
A historical fiction novel that discusses World War 2 and the internment of Jewish Europeans. It will help young readers understand the hardships of the Holocaust, particularly how it may have felt for non Jews to lose their Jewish loved ones. It shows the actions that people took in order to save
Show More
their friends.
Show Less

Similar in this library






(3268 ratings; 4.2)
Page: 15.7432 seconds