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I read a paperback copy that I own. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.
Title: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Publication Date: February 9, 1998
Number the Stars is a historical fiction tale that tells the story of Annemarie living in Copenhagen in 1943, during World War II. She’s ten-years-old, trying to be brave and understand what’s going on in the world in terms of the war and Nazis standing on every street corner. Her best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. This is the story of Annemarie and her family standing up for what they believe in.
I read this book in elementary school and recently the fifth grader I babysit had to read it for school. I re-read it on my own as a refresher. This book opened many discussions between us, especially in light of what’s happening in the world today.
The characters are based on the author’s friend’s story, leaving this a historical fiction novel. The main characters are aged ten. Annemarie and Ellen do their best to continue living their lives as normal kids but, of course, the war has other plans. I thought the two characters were well-done and had the minds of children, even in dark times.
The adults were just as well done. They handled what was happening around them with poise and only told the kids what they thought they needed to hear, but not necessarily sugar-coating the situation. They were well thought-out, over all.
This is a short book being under 150 pages. It’s meant for a younger audience and I think Lois Lowry hits the nail on the head. Number the Stars depicts a perfect picture of what living in World War II was like all the while keeping the information relevant and simple to understand for the readers.
As I said, this book opened a lot of heavy discussions between myself and my 11-year-old. We were able to have an honest discussion with one another without delving too deep into the heavy stuff. It was age-appropriate but he certainly understands what happened in that dark time. (In fact, he taught me some things!)
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry