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Number the Stars

Book review by
Cindy Kane, Common Sense Media
Number the Stars Book Poster Image
Brave girl helps smuggle Jewish friends to safety.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 87 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Persecution of the Jews during WWII is the issue explored in this thoughtful and memorable story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tells the story of a brave Danish girl who helps to save lives during WWII.


Fear of capture, several confrontations with Nazis. Annemarie's best friend is in terrible danger.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lois Lowry's sense of timing and choice of details put readers in the middle of the story. A riveting read, but your kids may have questions afterward.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLaDeDa February 21, 2010

Great book

Wonderful book with positive message. Kids need background on World War II (specifically Jewish people hiding from Nazis). 3rd graders love it, but would have... Continue reading
Parent of a 17 year old Written bymarthe January 5, 2010
it is a realy good and educational book
Teen, 13 years old Written byAwalkeratCSM December 31, 2010

Right on for ten and up!

One of the best Newberry Award books out there; I would readily recommend this to anyone who asked about it. As CSM says, Lowry doesn't waste a word in thi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 25, 2010


AMAZING!!! My teacher read this book to my class and we couldn't resist it!!!! The author really had a way to always make you want to keep reading and the... Continue reading

What's the story?

This stirring World War II novel personalizes the story of Denmark's heroic rescue of its Jews from the Nazis, telling of a brave ten-year-old Danish girl who helps her family smuggle her Jewish friends to safety in Sweden.

Is it any good?

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.

But she is one of the brave Danes who save their Jewish neighbors, one by one. The ending, in which Annemarie vows to wear Ellen's Star of David necklace till her friend returns, would be hokey in the hands of a lesser writer; instead, it leaves a lump in the throat. So does the Afterword: Crafted as carefully as the novel, it makes the point that these fictional characters represent real people whose idealism was a gift to the world.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about lying. Is it OK for Uncle Henrik to lie to Annemarie, or for Annemarie to lie to the soldiers?

  • Why or why not?

  • What other choices did they have?

Book details

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