Num­ber the Stars: 25th Anniver­sary Edition

Lois Lowry
  • Review
By – June 16, 2015

The New­ber­ry award-win­ning Num­ber the Stars has been re-released for its 25th an­niversary. It remains a rel­e­vant and poignant sto­ry of friend­ship and brav­ery dur­ing the Holo­caust. Anne-Marie Johansen is a ten-year old girl liv­ing in Nazi-occu­pied Den­mark, Her life changes with the appear­ance of sol­diers on the street cor­ners and food rations, but most of all, things change when her fam­i­ly risks their own lives to save the life of Ellen, Anne-Marie’s best friend, and Ellen’s family. 

This work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion high­lights not only the courage of one fam­i­ly, but that of the entire Dan­ish resis­tance, which smug­gled near­ly 7,000 Jews across the sea to Sweden. 

In Lowry’s mag­nif­i­cent intro­duc­tion to this edi­tion, she writes about the longevi­ty of the book and how read­ers over the past 25 years have asked them­selves, Would I have done that?” She men­tions her friend Annelise Pratt, who grew up in Copen­hagen dur­ing the Ger­man occu­pa­tion and whose sto­ry inspired Num­ber the Stars. She also reminds us that this is the age that chil­dren are begin­ning to real­ize that the world they live in is a place where the right thing is often hard, some­times dan­ger­ous, and fre­quent­ly unpop­u­lar.” Touch­ing­ly, Lowry speaks of how she and Pratt are old now.” What an incred­ible lega­cy they leave. 

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for read­ers 9 – 11 years old.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions