Synopsis: As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
For the Writer: Number the Stars is a lesson in an uncomplicated story told well. The story is narrated from a child’s point of view, which characterizes its simple language. Lowry applies a basic rudiment of the storyteller’s craft; say it succinctly. She allows the courageous acts of the protagonists, in the context of a growing threat, create its own suspense. As a reader, I had room to fill-in-the-blanks, to infuse the narrative with my own knowledge of the potential threat to the protagonist’s journey. The contextual knowledge base of the Nazis and of Hitler’s crimes, a knowledge base which I think most older readers would bring to the book, might have to be supplemented for young readers.