Number the Stars Book Poster Image

Number the Stars



Brave girl helps smuggle Jewish friends to safety.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Positive role models

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.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Lois Lowry
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1989
Number of pages:137
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Award:Newbery Medal and Honors

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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 this detailed story of a young Danish girl helping her Jewish friend and her family escape to Sweden from the Nazi regime. If I remember right, it took me only about a day to finish this eye-gluing book and even within the quick read there is so much depth and history embedded in the pages. Parents will be thrilled to find such a good and gripping book for their children. There isn't much to look out for except a bit of violence and suspense here and there. Basically, this is one of the safest books you'll find that deals directly with the Nazi regime. If your children are older when they read this book, say about twelve, and they enjoy this book's topic on the Nazis, they would probably enjoy "Daniel Half-Human and the Good Nazi" or "Parallel Journeys", which is nonfiction. Enjoy the book!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
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 story was amazing! I think it's a great way to introduce kids to WWII because its not TOO heavy or violent. In the end I found knew so much more about WWII. Also, Annemarie is a great role mode for tweens! I know I put that role models aren't so good too and I was referring to the Nazis. At one point in the book they say the "D" word and i think i recall them using idiot a couple times too. This book taught me a lot and I think it's a phenomenal and greatly written book! I also think it would make a really good movie......
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 15, 2011

Amazing book about truth

This book was amazing it talks about the truth of WWII and how hard it was to live. Any child who reads this will be left wanting more . Annemarie is a role model to me because she can stand up for what she fells is right so she risks her life for her best friend .
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models