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Number the Stars

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Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before 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 is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.

137 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 24, 1989

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About the author

Lois Lowry

148 books20.4k followers
Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always seemed to have their heads under the raised hood of a car. That left me in-between, and exactly where I wanted most to be: on my own. I was a solitary child who lived in the world of books and my own vivid imagination.

Because my father was a career military officer - an Army dentist - I lived all over the world. I was born in Hawaii, moved from there to New York, spent the years of World War II in my mother’s hometown: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and from there went to Tokyo when I was eleven. High school was back in New York City, but by the time I went to college (Brown University in Rhode Island), my family was living in Washington, D.C.

I married young. I had just turned nineteen - just finished my sophomore year in college - when I married a Naval officer and continued the odyssey that military life requires. California. Connecticut (a daughter born there). Florida (a son). South Carolina. Finally Cambridge, Massachusetts, when my husband left the service and entered Harvard Law School (another daughter; another son) and then to Maine - by now with four children under the age of five in tow. My children grew up in Maine. So did I. I returned to college at the University of Southern Maine, got my degree, went to graduate school, and finally began to write professionally, the thing I had dreamed of doing since those childhood years when I had endlessly scribbled stories and poems in notebooks.

After my marriage ended in 1977, when I was forty, I settled into the life I have lived ever since. Today I am back in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living and writing in a house dominated by a very shaggy Tibetan Terrier named Bandit. For a change of scenery Martin and I spend time in Maine, where we have an old (it was built in 1768!) farmhouse on top of a hill. In Maine I garden, feed birds, entertain friends, and read...

My books have varied in content and style. Yet it seems that all of them deal, essentially, with the same general theme: the importance of human connections. A Summer to Die, my first book, was a highly fictionalized retelling of the early death of my sister, and of the effect of such a loss on a family. Number the Stars, set in a different culture and era, tells the same story: that of the role that we humans play in the lives of our fellow beings.

The Giver - and Gathering Blue, and the newest in the trilogy: Messenger - take place against the background of very different cultures and times. Though all three are broader in scope than my earlier books, they nonetheless speak to the same concern: the vital need of people to be aware of their interdependence, not only with each other, but with the world and its environment.

My older son was a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. His death in the cockpit of a warplane tore away a piece of my world. But it left me, too, with a wish to honor him by joining the many others trying to find a way to end conflict on this very fragile earth.
I am a grandmother now. For my own grandchildren - and for all those of their generation - I try, through writing, to convey my passionate awareness that we live intertwined on this planet and that our future depends upon our caring more, and doing more, for one another."

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5 stars
237,619 (44%)
4 stars
188,483 (35%)
3 stars
88,251 (16%)
2 stars
17,819 (3%)
1 star
5,997 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,833 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
January 8, 2019
i was clearing out my closet over the weekend and found a box of old books that i read as a kid!

i originally read this when i was about 10 years old and i can tell you that, at that age, there was no way i understood the depth of horror and severity of the holocaust. and i wouldnt have been exposed to that in this story as its rather on the tame side (if thats possible for such a tragic event in human history). i just remember really wanting to be like annemarie, wanting to be the type of friend who would be brave enough to help someone she cared about, even when it was seen as wrong.

and so after a quick re-read, i feel comforted knowing that i grew into a strong enough person who is brave enough to do everything in my power to help those who need it, and to also stand up for what i know to be right, even when it might be hard or dangerous or unpopular.

and i hope 10 year old me would be proud.

4 stars
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,208 followers
March 18, 2017
See more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com

The second of the books that we listened to on my recent multi-generational, girls road-trip, was 'Number the Stars'. I could not have chosen better. This story was suspenseful, educational and deeply emotional. With an age range of 5 years-old to 88 years-old in the car, this book managed to hold all of attention.

Like most readers, I've read plenty of books set during the WWII era. Some were graphic and shocking in their descriptions of the horrendous acts that took place. Others, like 'Number the Stars' go a far more subtle route, choosing to leave much to your imagination, while providing just enough information so that the reader can figure out exactly what is going on.

With two children in the car, subtle and less graphic was an obvious benefit. However, I was amazed by the depth of understanding my 9 year-old had of the story that unfolded. I was incredibly impressed by the way the author was able to craft a story that appealed to such a broad audience.

Set in a German-occupied Denmark in WWII, 'Number the Stars' tells the story of a teenaged Annemarie Johansen. She and her family helped rescue her best friend, Ellen Rosen, and her family. The two girls had grown up together. Like their daughters, the parents were best friends also, having been neighbors for years.

When the German occupation becomes increasingly hostile, the writing is on the wall for the Jews. The Johansen's are ordinary people that took extraordinary risks to stand against injustice in the only way they knew how. They become active in the resistance movement, helping to smuggle targeted groups of people to safety.

I don't want to give too much away, because this is a story that I believe should be read and experienced by everyone. I will say that it was deeply sentimental and thought-provoking. There was plenty of action and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat, but nothing too terrifying or gory for children.

This is the first WWII book that I've read about the Danish resistance movement. I greatly enjoyed learning about the Danish culture and the role that Denmark played in WWII. The stories about the King of Denmark were especially inspiring.

Mostly, this story was inspirational. It is about everyday people that do incredibly courageous things when backed into a corner. It is about the strength of the human spirit. This is the kind of book that makes you reevaluate your values and what you consider important in life. Everyone needs a reminder every once in a while, especially as the holidays approach.

I loved every minute of this story. It is another one that should probably make the "mandatory reading" list for school-aged children, lest we forget the lessons of the past. The audio was fabulous as well. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Profile Image for stephanie.
1,103 reviews381 followers
June 17, 2007
i read this in hardback, when it first came out, and i'd say it was probably the reason i became addicted to WWII/holocaust literature/history at such a young age.

i think it helped that i was so young when i read this, as imagining a ten year old standing up to nazis was something remarkable, but imaginable for me. i loved annemarie, i identified with her in ways i can't really explain. i read this book again and again, and it never changed. there are scenes burned into my memory: the fake funeral, the ripping of ellen's necklace, annemarie with the special packet, the idea of all the jews packed into uncle henrik's boat. and annemarie running, running fast like she did at school when she beat all the boys, running with a basket and a red cape (only later would i figure out the clever little red riding hood allusion), her blond hair trailing.

it also helped that i had great-grandmothers who remembered the war, a swedish au pair who told me about seeing denmark from sweden, and an insatiable curiosity about things like this - so i was looking up things on maps and reading about german shepherds and the "scent rags" and. even when it was card-catalogs and old books, i was a cross referencer. i have notes somewhere of my favorite quotes from the book.

i also love the ending - because it doesn't condescend. the ending, unlike the book, is ambigious in its ending. we know the war is over, we know annemarie survived - but what does that mean for a little girl, after all?
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
May 11, 2022
Number the Stars, Lois Lowry

Number the Stars (1989) is a work of historical fiction by American author Lois Lowry, about the escape of a Jewish family (the Rosens) from Copenhagen, Denmark, during World War II. The story centers on ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen, who lives with her family in Copenhagen in 1943. She becomes a part of the events related to the rescue of the Danish Jews, when thousands of Jews were helped to reach neutral ground in Sweden in order to avoid being relocated to concentration camps. She risked her life in order to help her best friend, Ellen Rosen, by pretending that Ellen is Annemarie's late older sister Lise, who had died earlier in the war. Lise had been killed by the Nazi military as a result of her work with the Danish Resistance, though her former fiancé Peter, based in part on Danish resistance member Kim Malthe-Bruun, continues to help them.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نخست ماه سپتامیر سال2017میلادی

عنوان: ستاره‌ها را بشمار؛ نویسنده: لوئیس لوری؛ مترجم: پروین علی‌پور؛ ویراستار: احمد پورامینی؛ تهران: نشر افق، سال‏‫‏‏‏‏1395؛ در137ص؛ شابک9786003532359؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

در کتاب «ستاره ها را بشمار»؛ «آنه مری» دختر دهساله ای ست، که با پدر، مادر، و خواهر کوچکترش «کرست»، در جنگ جهانی دوم در «کپنهاک دانمارک» زندگی میکنند؛ او دوستی دارد، به نام «آلن»، که دختری یهودی و پدرش آموزگار است؛ سه سال است که «دانمارک» در اشغال آلمانیهاست، و برای «آلن» و خانواده اش، که یهودی هستند، مزاحمتهای آلمانیها نمایان است؛ «آنه مری» و خانواده اش، پس از باخبر شدن از یورش احتمالی نازیها، برای دستگیری یهودیان، «آلن» را، به خانه ی خودشان میآورند، و در برابر نازیها وانمود میکنند، که «آلن» نیز دختر خانواده ی آنهاست؛ آنان با یاری دایی «هنریک»، که مرد مبارزی است، یاری میکنند تا بسیاری از خانواده های یهودیان، از جمله خانواده ی «آلن»، به «سوئد» بروند، و نجات پیدا کنند؛ سرانجام جنگ به پایان میرسد، و «آلن» و خانواده اش، به «دانمارک» و خانه ی خویش برمیگردند؛

این داستان واقعگرای ضد جنگ، نوجوان خوانشگر را، با مصیبتهای یهودی بودن، در زمان اشغال «دانمارک»، توسط نازیها در جنگ جهانی دوم، آشنا میکند؛ تصویر کتاب در روی جلد، که چهره ی نگران یک دختر یهودی است، نشان از این مصیبت دارد؛ داستان پر هیجان و جذاب است؛ روابط صمیمی افراد خانواده را، با هم و با سایر همسایه ها، به زیبایی بیان میکند؛ به نقش نهضت مقاومت «دانمارک» اشاره دارد؛ حس وطن پرستی، و دوست داشتن سرزمین، در کتاب روشن است؛ اثر به سختیها، محرومیتها، نبود مایحتاج و ایستادگی در برابر دشمن در زمان جنگ، میپردازد؛ کتاب پیام آور صلح و امید برانگیز نیز هست؛ بیان زیبای دوستی، بین یک دانش آموز مسیحی، با یک دانش آموز یهودی، و تلاش برای نجات جان او، بدون هراسیدن از دشمن را، در خود نهفته دارد؛ این اثر در سال1990میلادی، برنده جایزه «نیوبری» و همچنین کتاب برگزیده ی سال به انتخاب «انجمن کتابداران امریکا» و مجله «اسکول لایبرری» بوده است؛ «لوئیس لوری» نویسنده ی آمریکایی بیش از سی رمان، برای نوجوانان بنوشته است؛ «لوری» برای رمان دیگری، با عنوان: «بخشنده» هم، جایزه «نیوبری» را بگرفته است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 24/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews404 followers
June 18, 2018
4.5 stars for this jewel. One reason I enjoy historical fiction is the educational aspect; learning about something for the first time. This is not your typical WWII/Holocaust book. This one tells the story of how the Danish people, after their small country was invaded by Germany, smuggled nearly the entire population of Jews (7,000) across the sea to Sweden, saving them from deportation and almost certain death.

The story is told through the eyes of 10 year old Annemarie Johansen, and how her family participated in the hiding and smuggling of the Jewish people, and their involvement in the Danish Resistance. Well done Lois Lowry. Winning the 1990 Newberry Medal for outstanding children's literature was well deserved.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,573 followers
April 29, 2023
As part of a children's book readathon I am hosting on my blog, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry was voted as a winner in the poll. We assigned this stellar Newbery Medal winner to this week and have been sharing all our reviews. Normally I'm not a fan of reading literature that delves into this subject matter, but given it was written for young adults / children, I thought it would be less painful. While it was definitely less harsh than a few other books I've read on the topic, it was still quite emotional. To think what cruel people condoned because of differences in humankind is atrocious, but this book was wonderful.

Lowry provides the right balance of positive and negative emotion ensuring readers aren't swept up entirely in pain. The beautiful tale of unconditional love and support versus horrible actions and words from soldiers standing guard in a foreign country really conveys the message to kids around ten years old. There were atrocities in the past and we can't hide them, but we can showcase them as tastefully as possible. Kudos to Lowry. I can't wait to take on more of her books later this year / next year!
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,097 followers
June 10, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully written Historical Fiction story which I believe was written for children and yet adults may well find it such a worthwhile and enjoyable read as well

The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life. She brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen's family out of the country.

A short book will just enough historical detail to educate a young (and not so young reader) and interesting and likeable characters, I loved the bravery and courage of Danish people and how they looked out for their neighbours.
Its a beautiful story full of hope and suspense and I certainly enjoyed every moment. I look forward to reading some Non Fiction books about this time in Denmark's history.

I listened to this on audible and at under 3 hours its such a great book to escape with back to a different time.
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books580 followers
January 30, 2018
C. S. Lewis famously wrote something to the effect that a children's book so bland and simplistic that it could appeal only to children probably has nothing of much real worth to offer to a child reader, either. He was right; the best and truest (in the sense of Mary E. Wilkins' Freeman's comment that "All fiction should be true") stories written for children speak just as profoundly to adults. This book is a powerful illustration of that reality. At 137 pages (counting the Afterword) of fairly large print, it's a quick read, which I blazed though in three days; and the language and diction, while not dumbed down in any sense, is simple enough for readers as young as the 10-year-old protagonist to understand. But the depth of meaning in a story isn't determined by the length of time and verbiage it takes to tell, and the very simplicity of the tale heightens its impact immensely. (It's the perfect length for the effect Lowry wanted to create.) Like all great fiction, it's set in a particular time and place (here, Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943), and happens to a viewpoint character with particular demographic characteristics --a little girl-- but it leads all of us, of whatever age, gender, and nationality, to identify with her in the universal human issues and experiences that lie behind the particulars.

The Holocaust is a subject that's inherently harrowing. Until now, I've avoided Holocaust fiction (and read very little nonfiction devoted to it, except for The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom), simply because I already know what happened and don't want to drown myself in stark tragedy. This book, however, manages to bring a ray of light into that dark time: it's fictionalized, but it focuses on the real-life rescue of virtually the entire Jewish population of Denmark, smuggled by the Danish Resistance to safety in Sweden. (This isn't a spoiler, since the jacket copy provides that information.) It remains a story that looks human evil full in the face; incidents large and small drive home to the reader the ugliness of the Nazi's treatment of both Jews and Danish Gentiles. And even for readers who've read the jacket, Lowry conjures a palpable atmosphere of gripping tension and danger, especially in Chapters 8-15. But ultimately this is a story of the triumph of the human spirit and of human decency.

Lowry's messages are about toleration of differences between people, about cross-cultural and inter-religious friendship, and about the obligation of "ordinary" people to find the stuff to be heroes and heroines when circumstances call for it --lived out here in the object lesson, especially, of a small girl who's believably called upon to face enormous danger, in the face of her own fear. (The plot is excellently crafted.).

Lowry (1937- ) has twice won the coveted Newbery Award, once for this book. (IMO, that award was well deserved.) She's writing here of events in her own lifetime; but because she's going back to the time when she was an even smaller child than Annemarie here, and lived through World War II in the U.S. rather than in Denmark, she didn't grow up knowing the background of this book, and had to research it much as she would have a historical fiction novel. (The Afterword tells how she came to be inspired with this project, and what aspects of the book are factual --and a LOT of it is.) She did her homework well. I'd recommend this book to readers, young and old, who like World War II historical fiction, as well as general fiction; but really, to every reader. And this late-in-life first introduction to Lowry has definitely whetted my interest in reading more of her work!
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
March 18, 2017
Please visit my blog www.readrantrockandroll.com for reviews on children's books like this regarding the Holocaust and WWII

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is a book I read years ago. It's historical fiction but highlights the horror of WWII. It's a meaningful story that demonstrates what friends will do for each other when in need.

This is an easy chapter book for middle grade students and older. I have recently re-read it as an adult and was captivated once again.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
340 reviews36 followers
October 20, 2015
I know- I can't believe I'm just now reading this. What kind of a children's librarian am I?

This is a nice little story about a family who smuggles some Jewish friends out of Denmark during the Nazi occupation in 1943. I always avoided reading this because it looked depressing, but it wasn't. It wasn't a light story, but it didn't have the horrible scenes that fill most holocaust books.

However, the author's note at the end affected me deeply. I don't know a lot about my Danish heritage- I've always thought it was a sort of boring one. Most people I've known are descended from Danes, or some Scandinavian mix. Other than the Vikings, there's never seemed to be much of interest there. I've always envied my non-Scandinavian friends' more (in my mind) exotic backgrounds.

I was amazed to read, though, of the courage and kindness of the Danes during WWII. The afterword spoke of the weeks in 1943 when the Danes smuggled almost their entire Jewish population out of Denmark- nearly 7000 people- to save them from the Nazi death camps. Astonishing. It makes me want to learn more about where I came from.
Profile Image for Janete on hiatus due health issues.
655 reviews264 followers
April 26, 2019
I loved this book. I didn't know the Danish Resistance had smuggled about 7,000 Jews during World War II, transporting them to Sweden hidden in private boats, at the risk of being arrested and killed by the Nazis. Read it along with Scribd audio to improve my English learning.
Profile Image for Chris Horsefield.
110 reviews121 followers
March 31, 2017
Lowry doesn't waste a word in NUMBER THE STARS, starting with Annemarie and Ellen's frightening run-in with German soldiers in the opening chapter. In quick strokes, Lowry establishes the setting and characters and foreshadows Annemarie's subsequent encounters with soldiers, each of which increases the tension. The symbol of stars weaves in and out: When the crowd of escaping Jews gathers, they are comforted with the words of Psalm 147: "O praise the Lord ... he who numbers the stars one by one." "How can anyone number the stars?" Annemarie wonders.
My favorite part of the book is when Ellen and AnneMarie are looking out over the bay and they say that's Swedan over there. The fact that they talk about Swedan shows me that they are hopeful, curious, and anxious.
Anyone who is interested in the Holocaust or the lives of Jewish families and their friends should read this book. I think this is a book I will always remember. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is looking for a good read.
Profile Image for Gary.
941 reviews205 followers
August 12, 2019
A wonderful novel for young readers about friendship, love, courage and fortitude.
In 1943 the Nazis have occupied the peaceful little country of Denmark, ten year old Annamarie Johanssen and her family live through the deprivation and fear of Nazi tyranny. The Jews of Denmark are being rounded up and sent to death camps.
Annamarie's best friend Ellen is taken in by Anna marie's family but the Nazis become suspicion of Ellen's dark hair contrasted to Annamarie and her sister's silver blond hair.

Annamarie and her family try to help to smuggle Ellen and her family, among other Jews to neutral Sweden.

Wonderful characterization for readers aged 8 and up, in a touching, stirring novel about how true friendship and love can resist the most ruthless evil.
. On the cover of the book is the Star of David necklace hidden by Annamarie for her friend Ellen, so as not to betray who Ellen is.
The title of the book is named for the stirring line of Psalm 47:
"The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem; he gathers in the scattered sons of Israel. It is he who heals the broken in spirit and binds up their wounds, he who numbers the stars one by one"
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.2k followers
September 15, 2021
this was one of my very favorite books when i was a kid, and simultaneously the scene where the child protagonist has to go through the woods at night alone in the pitch dark gave me a recurring nightmare in which i was doing the same and then i looked over at a pile of logs/branches/etc. to see the wicked witch of the west's eyes peering out from between two, a sight that petrified me so much that i saw it every time i closed my eyes for years to come.

this is not the only recurring nightmare i had about the wicked witch of the west.

i forgive this book, though. on the basis of excellence.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read ages ago and we all pretend it's doing something for us
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,429 reviews1,060 followers
January 28, 2018
I had to read this one to fit a challenge I was taking part in – had to find a book set in Denmark, and my options for that were slim. I’m happy I chose this classic children’s story – it left a positive and lasting impression on many for a good reason. It mainly focuses on Annemarie Johnansen and her parents helping another family during the dreadful Nazi period in 1943. Apparently her uncle is part of an underground support group for Jews in the area as well. Despite it being such a dark period in history, reading about the experiences – especially with people who make a difference – are interesting.

The author keeps it relatively short due to the age group, but a full fledged story happens in the 137 pages. The beauty of the title is tied into scripture verses relating to the stars, as the main character sits in wonder and asks herself how it would be possible for someone to be able to number the stars. The drugged handkerchief helping throw off the scents from hunting dogs was a new one by me.

The simplistic writing style fits well with children’s fiction but the author has a healthy hand with foreshadowing and putting a lot of hope into the words. Not everything is realistic but that’s not unusual with Historical children’s fiction either.

It may inspire blurry eyes a time or two, but it’s not overly depressing - there’s a redeeming hope. It would be a good introduction for children who aren’t quite ready for the excellent but little dryer Diary of Anne Frank or older, more explicit holocaust fiction and non-fiction they may not be fully mentally ready for.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,004 reviews36k followers
September 11, 2022
I can't remember why I gave this 3 stars -(if my memory is correct -- my 3 stars didn't' mean I 'didn't enjoy it -- but it also didn't have much 'adult' depth for me) --yet --it teaches a little history.
but I read it with our daughter when she was about about 9 or 10 years old (she is 40 now) --

It's nice to see -though -this this book is getting a new life around here.
Dem wrote a wonderful review of the audiobook!
23 reviews
March 22, 2008
Number the Stars Bantam Doubleday Dell,1989, 152 pp., $5.99
Lois Lowery ISBN 0-06-447073-3

“Annemarie looked up, panting, just as she reached the corner. Her laughter stopped. Her heart seemed to skip a beat. ‘Halte!’ the soldier ordered in a stern voice ” (2, Lowery). And so begins Lois Lowery’s Number the Stars. When I first began to read Number the Stars a few years ago, I found that I could hardly get passed page three without dozing off. Recently, I had a friend tell me I should give the book another chance. I decided to give it another go. This time around, I had a very different reaction and I couldn’t put the book down!
The story is about a ten-year-old girl living in Copenhagen, Denmark during the Nazi invasion. Young Annemarie Johansen’s life is drastically altered, between her disappearing neighbors, rations on food and Nazi soldiers on every corner. When the invasion in her neighborhood begins to progress and get serious, Annemarie learns that the war is effecting her a lot more than she ever imagined it would. Her best friend’s family, the Rosens, are forced to separate for their safety, and Annemarie learns that when the world you live in needs improvements, bravery is always appreciated, regardless your age.
At the beginning of the story, Annemarie seems used to and and accepting of the Nazi soldiers on every corner. By the end of the story she knew that there needed to be change and she would help in any way to make that happen. This included risking her life.
Number the Stars is a gripping and moving novel that truly deserves its Newbery Medal. I would definitely recommend It grasps the reader and satisfies them with a suspenseful, sad and hopeful novel.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,491 reviews9 followers
February 10, 2017
Yes the target audience is young adults but I as an old adult found it an amazing and educational story of the Nazi occupation of Denmark.

From the Afterword, a part of a letter written by a young man from the Resistance to his mother, on the eve of his execution:

"You must not dream yourselves back to the times before the war, but the dream for you all, young and old, must be to create an ideal of human decency, and not a narrow-minded and prejudice one."

I'm all for human decency, anytime, anywhere.
Profile Image for Nusrat Mahmood.
560 reviews635 followers
November 15, 2016
বিকেলে অভ্যাসমতো বারান্দায় বসে ঢুলে ঢুলে পড়ছিলাম! মা এসে কানের কাছে কিছুক্ষণ ঝিঁঝিঁ পোকার ডাক ডাকলো! আমি তো বইয়েই তন্ময়! কানে টান খেয়ে হুশ হলো যখন ততক্ষণে বা কানের লতিটা টকটকে লাল। মুঠোফোনে যে বইও পড়া যায় তা বুঝাতে লাগলো ৩মিনিট, ৪ মিনিটের মাথায় চোখ নষ্ট করছি বলে আবার মাথায় চাঁটি! মন খারাপ নিয়ে বইটা পড়তে শুরু করেছিলাম, শেষ করবার সময়ও কেমন মেদুর মেদুর ভাব! মাতাজির এসমস্ত আদর তাতে যেন গরম ভাতে ঘি!

দ্বিতীয় বিশ্বযুদ্ধ নিয়ে যে কোন বই আমার কাছে পোলাওয়ের শেষ পাতে ঘরে পাতা মিষ্টি দইয়ের মতোন! পেলেই লুফে নেই! এই বইটি ভুগাচ্ছিল খুব। মানে আমিই একে ভুগাচ্ছিলাম আর কি। ইচ্ছে করে জমিয়ে রেখেছিলাম। Lois Lowry এর লেখার উপর তো চোখ বন্ধ করে ভরসা করা যায়, তাই মনে হচ্ছিল এ বাবা! পড়লেই তো ফুরিয়ে গেল! তারচেয়ে থাক না আর কিছুদিন! তো হটাত করে হলো কি, মনটা সেদিন বিগড়ে গেল। তো বেগড়বাই ঠিক করতে ভাল মিস্তিরির কাছে তো নিতে হবে, নাকি? ডিজিটাল বুকশেলফ খুলতেই দেখি এ মস্ত ডাক্তার প্রকটমান। আর কি! শুরু করলাম পড়া!

দ্বিতীয় বিশ্বযুদ্ধে ডেনিশ লোকদের দিনযাপনের কথাগুলো আগে সেভাবে জানা হয়নি। বেশ লাগে! যত পড়ি, তত নতুন নতুন কত কিছু শিখি! মগজে কতটুকু ধরে রাখতে পারি সে কথা জিজ্ঞেস করে কেউ লজ্জা না দিলে ভাল। কিন্তু পড়বার সময় যেন মুখে কেউ আমিত্তি পুরে দেয়। যুদ্ধের ডামাডোলেও ডেনিশ রাজা যখন দেহরক্ষীর তোয়াক্কা না করে ঘোড়ায় চড়ে রোজ ঘুরতে বের হন মনে হয় আমিও জানালা খুলে একটু দেখি, পারলে নেমে গিয়ে কথা বলে আসি। জার্মান সৈন্যর প্রশ্নের জবাবে ছোট ছেলেটা বলে আমাদের রাজার দেহরক্ষীর দরকার নেই, আমরা পুরো ডেনমার্ক তার দেহরক্ষী- ভিতরটা কেমন যেন সাহসে গরম হয়ে ওঠে! পরিবার গুলোর কষ্ট, পালিয়ে বেড়ানো, ধর্মের- নিজের অস্তিত্তের আড়াল করবার গল্পগুলো কি যে নাড়া দেয়! দুধের উপর পরা সড় ছেকে ছেকে যারা খায় তেমন যেন খুঁজে বের করে আনতে হয়! এই যে মাঝখানে সাগর, অপারে দেখা যায় সুইডেন, জার্মান শাসনমুক্ত সুইডেন, এপারে ডেনমার্ক! দুইদেশের জীবন কত আলাদা না? ধর্ম আলাদা বলে বন্ধুর পরিবারটিকে লুকিয়ে পৌছাতে হবে তাই ঐ ওপারে, যেখানে রাস্তায় হুটহাট থামিয়ে সৈন্যরা নাম জিজ্ঞেস করবেনা। মাঝরাতে ঘরে ঢুকে চুল টেনে বিছানা থেকে নামিয়ে নিয়ে আসবেনা। বিপ্লবীর সিলগালা দিয়ে জনতার সামনে গুলি করে মারবেনা।

অ্যানামেরির পরিবার ও তার নিজের যে গল্পটা এই বইতে বলা হয়েছে তা যেন কোথায় গিয়ে বড্ড চেনা ঠেকে! বুঝিয়ে দেয় সব নিঃশেষিত -নিপীড়িত জাতির ইতিহাসে এক জায়গায় না এক জায়গায় মিল থাকবেই। তবে হ্যাঁ! টেক্কা দেবার গল্পগুলো কিন্তু মন ভাল করে। এই যে কুকুরের নাক কে ফাঁকি দেবার জন্য রুমাল মন্তর, বা মিটিঙের জন্য কফিনের জাদু! কে ভেবেছিল যে ভাত কাপড়ে মারার পরেও লোকগুলোর মাথা ঠেকে এত বুদ্ধি বেরোবে। প্রতিটা চরিত্র এত সৎ যে নিজেকে তাদের জায়গায় বসিয়ে ভাবতেও ভয় লাগে। দশ বছরের অ্যানা যখন নিজের সাহসের পারদটা একদম ঠিকভাবে তুলে ধরে ইচ্ছে করে জড়িয়ে ধরে বসে থাকি। তবে কি , বইয়ে খারাপ কিছু ঘটলে শেষে এটাই ভাবতে ভাল লাগে যে ধুর! সব বানানো গপ্প! কি���্তু দুই-তিন প্যারায় যখন দেখি সব সত্যি, এমনকি চলে যাবার আগে পিটারের চিঠিটা পর্যন্ত আবার কেমন যেন মনটা গুমগুম করে। চোখ বন্ধ করলে একটা শীর্ণ হলদে কাগজে আমি কিছু জ্বলজ্বলে শব্দ দেখতে পাই। শব্দগুলো ভীষণ সাহসী!
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,231 reviews398 followers
April 16, 2020
What a wonderful quick read, we wanted this to be longer!

Set during WWII this exciting story follows the lives of two young Danish families. One family is Jewish and it becomes unsafe for them to stay in Denmark.

We really enjoyed meeting these girls, we loved the character of chatterbox Kirsti and enjoyed hearing her tell off a soldier! When we read of the Danish scientists invention to help the Jewish people escape

This was an unputdownable read told from a child's perspective. Highly recommended to those who enjoy WWII stories.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,759 reviews1,218 followers
August 18, 2017
This is a safe, easy way for children to be introduced to a little of what happened during the holocaust. When I was growing up, one of my mother’s friends was from Denmark (she traveled back there once a year), and she was very proud of how her homeland had behaved during World War II. I really enjoyed this book and thought of Edna while reading it.
Profile Image for Adam .
24 reviews
January 15, 2009
Is it just me, or do most books about Jewish girls during World War II suck? I'm serious, it's like this book and "Summer of my German Soldier" were written with the same purpose in mind: educate students about the Holocaust in just about the most boring way possible. Thank God there's the History Channel, or else my generation would've have thought the Holocaust as if it were simply a story about little girls and their twisted lives. I'm probably overexaggerating a bit, but ut's the best way I can think to describe this book. How it ever won the Newberry Medal is beyond me. C'mon, the freaking climax of the book is when the main characher (Annemarie) skips through the forest, pretending to be Little Red Riding Hood. Yea, I go through 100-something pages to reach that. Yea, I'd like my money and my time back, please? Don't ever read this book.

EDIT: How did this book get an award? It must have been a slow year the year it won.
Profile Image for Anne .
443 reviews360 followers
June 24, 2021
This is an excellent introduction to WWII and the Holocaust for children ages 10-12 because it tells the inspiring story about the heroic Danes during the occupation of their country by the Germans. During the occupation, the Danes smuggled almost their entire Jewish population of 7,000 Jews to Sweden via boats. This story is told through the example of one Danish family and their involvement in the resistance and the risks they took in helping Jews escape to Sweden.

I learned something new in this book. Danish scientists developed a powder of rabbit's blood and cocaine which, when sniffed by dogs, would temporally destroy their sense of smell. When the Germans brought their dogs to the boats to find hidden Jews, the dogs would immediately go for this scent placed on a handkerchief. Having no sense of smell after that they couldn't sniff out any people who may have been hidden in the boats.

This story about the dogs is told in the afterward which is very interesting for other reasons. The author discusses her inspiration for writing this story as well as some details about the Danish resistance.

Highly recommended for kids and adults. Who wouldn't enjoy such an heroic story which is also an everyday lesson about helping people who are helpless to help themselves.

This book won the 1990 Newberry Medal.
Profile Image for Allison Tebo.
Author 20 books324 followers
January 2, 2018
A delicately written and touchingly poignant book. Several moments made my eyes well-up (how I loved that dear Papa!). As usual, a child’s viewpoint is one of the most gripping and beautiful ways to tell a story set in WW2 as we are gaze with the bland honesty and persistent spirit of youth at something unthinkable. This combined with the writing style creates a deeply resonating story of heroism and the reality of being normal in a world gone mad. This is a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things – and that is a story that never grows old, and should never stop being told.

Content: A few swear words. Some intense content regarding the Nazi regime (including how they ran over a young girl with a car). The author implies that world peace and universal human decency is possible.
Profile Image for neverblossom.
308 reviews1,109 followers
August 3, 2019
UPDATE 02/08/19


Văn học viết về Đệ nhị Thế chiến luôn là một chủ đề tớ rất yêu thích, và tớ vẫn luôn luôn tìm kiếm những đầu sách hay về chủ đề này để tha hồ nghiền ngẫm và có thể thấu hiểu thêm được phần nào về những sự kiện hay hơn cả, là cuộc diệt chủng người Do Thái - cũng là trang sử đen tối nhất của đời người. Đếm Sao (tên gốc: Number The Stars) tớ đã add vào TBR list từ xa lắc xa lơ rồi, định quất luôn bản tiếng Anh mà may thế, nhận được tin NXB Phụ Nữ dịch cuốn này như bắt được vàng, quẩy luôn không phải xoắn.

Một điều làm tớ để mắt tới tác phẩm này chính là tên của tác giả - Lois Lowry - bà là nhà văn nữ chuyên viết cho trẻ em và cũng đồng thời là tác giả của cuốn Người Truyền Ký Ức mà tớ cực kỳ thích. Nói là văn học cho trẻ em nhưng không, ngòi bút của Lois Lowry còn làm rung cảm cả trái tim của những con người đã và đang trưởng thành. Đếm Sao chính là một tác phẩm như vậy, dù chưa đến 200 trang nhưng lại truyền tới cho người đọc được những thông điệp lớn lao mà sâu sắc vô cùng.

Đếm Sao đưa người đọc theo chân Annemarie - một cô bé người Đan Mạch với quãng niên thiếu gắn liền với chiến tranh. Đó là khoảng thời gian khi Đức Quốc Xã tràn vào chiếm đóng Cophenhagen, là chuỗi ngày thiếu thốn lương thực thiết yếu, những sợ hãi bủa vây, những giờ giới nghiêm ngặt nghèo và cuộc truy lùng người Do Thái đang diễn ra khắp mọi nơi. Khác với những tác phẩm trước mà tớ đã đọc, Đếm Sao giúp bạn đọc nhìn nhận chiến tranh qua con mắt thơ ngây của những đứa trẻ, chúng thắc mắc, chúng tò mò đủ điều, chúng còn quá nhỏ để biết được bi kịch gì đang diễn ra. Những câu hỏi ngây ngô cứ thế dâng trào trong Annemarie, em không hiểu tại sao những người Do Thái tốt bụng lại bị đàn áp như thế, tại sao lại chặn hết đường buôn bán của họ, rồi họ sẽ phải sống ra sao đây. Với sự ngây thơ trong sáng như vậy của Annemarie, Lois Lowry đã gợi ra cho người đọc những xót xa và những thương cảm cho số phận hay sự sợ hãi của những đứa trẻ trong suốt những năm tháng chiến tranh, và rằng đôi khi những người lớn đã phải bảo vệ sự an toàn, sự ngây thơ cho những đứa trẻ ấy bằng cách nói dối. Và rằng đôi khi, chiến tranh đã buộc những đứa trẻ phải đối mặt với hiện thực tàn khốc, buộc các em phải dũng cảm và thật can trường đối diện với nỗi sợ hãi để bảo vệ mình và cả những người thương yêu.

Đếm Sao tuy dung lượng ngắn nhưng tác phẩm này chứa đựng những nỗi niềm to lớn hơn cả: Đó là tình yêu thương con người với con người. Đếm Sao đưa người đọc hồi hộp đến lo lắng thấp thỏm cho cuộc "tẩu thoát" bí mật của những người Do Thái qua biên giới, để rồi ngưỡng mộ những con người bình thường sẵn sàng đem tính mạng ra để bảo vệ cho họ, giúp họ di dời và ẩn náu đến chỗ an toàn. Càng đọc tớ lại càng ngưỡng mộ vô cùng gia đình Johansen, cũng là gia đình của em Annemarie hay là nhân vật bác Henrik và đặc biệt là cậu chàng Peter trẻ tuổi. Phải nói nhân vật ưa thích nhất của tớ trong Đếm Sao chính là Peter - một thành viên của Quân Kháng chiến Đan Mạch, một tổ chức gồm rất nhiều những người trẻ tuổi và vô cùng dũng cảm. Nhân vật Peter cũng dược tác giả Lois Lowry dựng trên một thanh niên có thật, và chính qua những tìm hiểu về người thanh niên dũng cảm ấy đã khiến bà viết lên tác phẩm này. Bởi Lois Lowry muốn kể cho mọi người về một tấm gương như thế, cũng như tất cả những người dân Đan Mạch có chung một nỗi niềm với anh, cùng chung một lòng yêu nước sục sôi và trên tất cả, là ngọn lửa cháy sáng của tình người.

Đếm Sao chắc chắn là một trong những tác phẩm yêu thích nhất của tớ, đọc xong cứ gọi là sướt mướt sụt sùi vì những dòng viết chan chứa quá nhiều cảm xúc. Cũng qua Đếm Sao, bạn đọc sẽ có một cái nhìn kỹ lưỡng hơn về đất nước Đan Mạch cũng như lịch sử của đất nước này trong suốt thời kỳ kháng chiến. Lời giới thiệu của tác giả Lois Lowry ở đầu và lời bạt ở đoạn kết các bạn không nên bỏ qua nhé, bởi những trang sách đó sẻ giúp các bạn hiểu kỹ hơn về hoàn cảnh ra đời hay chính là niềm cảm hứng của tác giả khi viết ra Đếm Sao. Vì dung lượng ngắn nên tớ cũng không muốn dông dài làm gì mà để cho các bạn tự cảm nhận rồi cùng sướt mướt với tớ luôn cho vui nhà vui cửa huhu. Highly recommend cho các bạn cuốn này, thực sự Đếm Sao đối với tớ là một cuốn sách hay cực kỳyyyyyyyyy và xứng đáng là câu chuyện để tất cả mọi người cùng trải nghiệm và khám phá.
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews610 followers
March 29, 2015
I rarely read classic books nowadays. Seeing as my mom's idea of educational learning was to shove classic books down my throat (note: The first novel I finished reading was The Complete Sherlock Holmes and I was fucking eight years old) I have to say that it's understandable if I steer clear of classics for awhile.

The last classic novel I've read is this book. Mom is devious. She wrapped this little shit with a vintage wrapper, stashed it under my bed and asked me to clean my room because it resembles a pigsty. Of course, dutiful daughter that I am (ha!), I cleaned my room. While during the said activity, I saw something under my bed. (Guess what it is.) Our house is an old ancestral house and there's a lot of thing's I haven't seen yet at that house at the age of ten.So gullible me took the wrapped parcel and opened it. And lo and behold! It is a book! An old book with yellow crisp pages! I love old things and when you combine old + books you get a curious girl. So voila! I read it and loved it and reread it again and I was hooked.

Mom was happy.Dad is happy because Mom is happy. I was happy.The cat is happy because I was happy and the book is now missing because someone took it from my shelf.

Happy ending.
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