Genre: Children/Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 1989
Themes: Courage, Bravery, Secrets, Protection, Friendship, Fear, Determination
Annemarie Johansen learns the true meaning of bravery as her and her family assist a Jewish family, the Rosens, during the Nazis occupation in Denmark.
This is a book that I have read several times throughout the years, and even though I wasn’t much of a reader in elementary school, it’s one that touched my heart. It was the first time I heard about World War II, the Nazis, the persecution and maltreatment of the Jewish community, and that life wasn’t all butterflies and roses. I learned for the first time that there is true darkness in the world and that there are people who live, and have lived, such harsh lives. It was the first time I felt blessed for the life I had. So, Number the Stars definitely is one that has been, and will always be, in my heart.
After so many years passed and I learned more and more of the horrors during this time, Number the Stars was always in the back of my mind. I was fortunate enough to read this with my students when they were in fifth grade. Now, I was able to be the one to introduce not only the frightening parts of the world, but the brave and courageous people who risked their own lives in order to save others. Two of my students in particular were so fascinated and interested in Number the Stars. It was almost as if I felt the same change that came over me when I was kid happen to them, and it was a beautiful and reassuring moment.
As you can tell, Number the Stars means a lot to me. Even though it wasn’t the book that convinced me reading was fun, it was the first book that I remember wanting a physical copy of my own so badly. I wanted to have a copy of the very first book that matured me in a way that I hadn’t yet at that point.
As far as the book’s content is concerned, I thought Lois Lowry did a beautiful job in crafting a read through the eyes of a child during WWII. Annemarie’s character felt real, compassionate, and one that I was able to connect with when I was a child. The desire to be brave when the time comes, but feeling uncertain is so true to life. Between growing/learning with Annemarie and beginning to understand what it means to be brave were the main reasons I fell in love with Number the Stars.
The plot held frightening, light-hearted, and hopeful scenes. Anytime the Nazis came into view brought a darkness to the book, while Kristi’s character shed some light. Then, the brave Resistance and Johansens brought so much hope. Throughout the read, there was enough details to give children the sense of urgency during that time period, but not too much that it would give children nightmares.
Overall, this was such a joy to re-read, and I can picture myself revisiting this book in the future.
I would absolutely recommend this to anyone from upper elementary school to adulthood who would like to read about how one girl learns the true meaning of bravery.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
42 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!