Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Review – Discovering Resilience

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is an impressive work of historical fiction that tells us the captivating story of Jewish family’s escape from Copenhagen, Denmark during World War II. The story revolves around Annemarie Johansen who is a ten years old girl living in Copenhagen during the Nazi invasion. The life of Annemarie took a dramatic turn as she witnessed the disappearance of her neighbors, encountered Nazi soldiers at every corner of the city and experienced food rationing.

Once the war intensified, Annemarie realized that this war is affecting her life in many ways that she never anticipated. When the Rosens, the family of Annemarie’s best friend, is forced to separate for their safety, she discovered that in a world which is in need of change. Bravery has no age boundaries and she at this tender age became willing to risk her own life in order to make a difference. At initial stages, Annemarie accepted the presence of Nazi forces but as the story unfolded, she transformed herself into a courageous young girl who has decided to become a change and play her part.

Although the Holocaust is a subject that is inherently depressing, this book highlights a remarkable event that took place during the Holocaust: the actual rescue of almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, which was carried out by the Danish Resistance, who smuggled them to safety in Sweden. In the midst of the era’s despair, this inspiring aspect of the story offers hope. A tangible sense of tension and danger permeates the entire story as Lois Lowry deftly exposes the atrocities of Nazi treatment of Danish Gentiles and Jews, in both large and small ways. The triumph of the human spirit and the inherent goodness in people are what “Number the Stars” ultimately proves.

The novel conveys important messages about friendships across cultures and religions, tolerance for differences, and the obligation of regular people to step up and become heroes when necessary. A compelling object lesson can be learned from Annemarie’s journey as a young girl who bravely faced terrible danger. Despite growing up in the U.S., Lowry’s deft plot development keeps readers interested, and she has a personal connection to the World War II events. S. adds depth to her storytelling instead of Denmark. Insights into Lowry’s sources of inspiration for the book and the real-world details incorporated into the story are revealed in the Afterword.

Finally, Lois Lowry’s “Number the Stars” is an engrossing and moving book that is deserving of its Newbery Honor. It explores the resiliency of the human spirit in one of history’s darkest eras and is a potent lesson in the value of bravery, compassion, and speaking out against injustice.

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