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.