Novel: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Target Audience: 10-14 years
Genre: Historical fiction
Publication Year: 1989
Setting: Copenhagen, Denmark; 1943, World War II
A Favorite Quote: “It was only in the fairy tales that people were called upon to be so brave, to die for one another. Not in real-life Denmark.”
My One Sentence Summary: Ten-year-old Annemarie must risk everything to help her friend’s family escape Nazi-occupied Denmark.
What I loved about this book: When I first read this book as a child, I was fascinated by the meticulous detail. I was intrigued with the description of Kirsti’s fish scale shoes and the Danes who sank their navy to prevent their ships from being used by the Nazis. The setting is richly developed, and from the first pages, the novel is fraught with tension. This is a tale of love, loyalty, and friendship in the midst of some of our darkest times.
Themes: Courage and bravery in ordinary people; sacrificial nature of true friendship; striving for human decency and overcoming prejudice
Who should read this book: This is a powerful story, but some difficult concepts relating to the Holocaust make it a better choice for slightly older children. It is a particularly good recommendation for readers who are interested in the history surrounding World War II.