Saturday, September 3, 2011
"Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry, read by Blair Brown
I first read Number the Stars as part of a class assignment when I was in the sixth grade. As I recall, I had already read some of Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik books before this (yet another series I recommended, especially to young girls who love sassy, spunky, and fun characters). Since that time, this is book that often makes it to my “to be read again” pile.
I recently listened to the audio version of this wonderful book. I was amazed at just how quickly I went through it (I'm used to audio books such as Harry Potter with more than three cds) but still enjoyed the story as much as always.
Number the Stars tells the story of Annemarie, and young girl from Copenhagen, growing up amidst the soldiers and other changes that came with the Nazi invasion of World War II. Annemarie spends her days practicing for races at school, playing paper dolls with her best friend Ellen, and making up stories to tell to her younger sister Kirsti. Though much has changed, it has little effect on Annemarie's everyday life until word comes that all of the Jewish citizens are going to be “relocated.” Ellen is Jewish.
Annemarie's parents immediately take Ellen in, pretending she is their own daughter and make plans to hide her from the Nazi's. Throughout the novel, Annemarie must conquer her fears to help save her friend and get her to Sweden.
This novel is a great novel for late elementary and middle school readers to be introduced to the history of WWII. Shortly after reading it, I discovered The Diary of Anne Frank which has since led me to read many books on the holocaust and other topics of the time. I would hope that other readers would use this book as a stepping stone to find more pieces literature, both fiction and non-fiction (and by listening to the audio version, families are able to easily share this book together) Readers who enjoy this book will likely enjoy Lowry's other Newbery winner, The Giver and it's companions Gathering Blue and Messenger.