Title: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Historical Fiction
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of lifebefore the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages,and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,”Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie isasked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life. (Goodreads 2014)
Number the Stars got five stars from me. In term’s of Lowry’s writing, Number the Stars did for me what The Giver didn’t. While it is not an amazing book, it is a lovely book, with a lot of heart that went into the subject matter; one which is always tricky to write about, especially for the younger section of the YA genre/children’s books. However, this book deals with the subject through Annemarie’s eyes and sees the events of a short period of time as Annemarie sees them, not as an adult. There will undoubtedly be many comparisons between this and Boyne’s “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”. In my personal opinion, however, I prefer Number the Stars. I never really liked TbiSP but I really enjoyed reading Number the Stars. I enjoyed the friendship between Annemarie and Ellen. I enjoyed the family relationships between both the families and within the families themselves. The characters, for a very short book, were well crafted and given just enough background to be believable but not overbearing. The descriptions of the atmosphere at the time were well done and equally terrifying. This is a children’s book but it doesn’t talk down to children as it tells it’s story. It doesn’t attempt to hide anything of what happened. When you get told neighbours are “disappearing”, it doesn’t make an effort to cover the fact that everyone, including the children, knew that it was likely those people were no longer alive. It addressed the subject matter very well and I can see why it won a Newberry Medal. I spent most of this book, although it is a very quick read, on the edge of my seat hoping that all of the characters would be alright in the end. For such a short book, I got totally wrapped up in the emotions of the novel, and I would recommend this book to most people who want to read more books set around this subject.